New Jersey Stage
New Jersey Stage on social media


This article is from our magazine. To view it in its original format, click here

REVIEW: Clash

By Eric Hillis, TheMovieWaffler.com

REVIEW: Clash

From a western perspective, making sense of the ever evolving politics of the Middle East can at times feel like refereeing a football match in which both sides are wearing the same colors. The governments of the west seem equally befuddled, condemning the Islamic fundamentalists of some nations while selling arms to those of another, and dropping bombs on both the terrorists and the government forces fighting them.

Thankfully Egyptian filmmaker Mohamed Diab simplifies the political background of his claustrophobic drama, Clash, without ever dumbing it down. The movie begins with some text that explains in simple terms how at the time of the movie’s events, 2013, the Egyptian Army has ousted the Muslim Brotherhood from power, leading to street clashes between supporters of both groups. It’s a lot easier to comprehend than the opening crawls of any of the Star Wars prequels, and it sets the scene for the drama to follow.

Diab’s camera stays in the stuffy confines of a police truck (what we might call a ‘Paddy Wagon’ or a ‘Black Mariah’), first introducing us to an Egyptian-American journalist (Hany Adel) and his locally hired photographer (Mohamed El Sebaey) who are arrested after finding themselves caught up in the trouble. They’re quickly joined by a group of secularists, arrested despite their support for the authorities. Things really heat up with the addition of a group of Muslim Brotherhood supporters, causing ructions between the two factions as they verbally and physically spar like two dogs in a one-dog kennel.

REVIEW: Clash

The obvious western parallel for Clash might be something like Sidney Lumet’s Twelve Angry Men, but it excises the idea that one voice can make a difference. Here, in the dankness and darkness of Diab’s mobile cage, a single voice struggles to be heard, let alone listened to. Both sides argue their case, not always convincingly, but neither wins any ground. What little amity emerges comes out of mere necessity, like when a small bottle of water is passed between the two parched cliques, or how both groups of men agree to turn their backs to allow a young girl to relieve herself.

The physical toil of the truck’s seemingly endless journey is so tangible that I recommend you take a trip to your cinema’s bathroom before taking your seat, and bring a bottle of water. The smell of sweat and urine emanates off the screen, and if you struggle in confined spaces this could test your resolve.



The article continues after this ad

 


Though the camera remains inside the truck at all times, we do witness events outside through its windows, meaning Diab’s film goes far beyond a simple one location character drama. It’s actually quite a large-scale production, with hundreds of extras engaging in elaborate battles viewed through the steel bars of the cell on wheels. The horrors we witness create a sense of tension as we begin to realize things may not end well for our reluctantly assembled protagonists.

It’s testament to Diab’s film that despite so many characters on screen, we get to know all of them to some degree, along with their level of political commitment. Some are fully in the tank for their beliefs while others just seem to be along for the ride, and some of the lesser educated detainees appear to have been duped by the intellectuals among the group.

The hook of Clash is such a high concept it could be reworked to suit pretty much any cultural, political or social divide, and I would gladly watch remakes of this set in 1980s Northern Ireland or civil rights era America. I fear few filmmakers would offer such nuance as Diab however.

Clash 4 Stars Out of 5

Directed by: Mohamed Diab. Starring: Nelly Karim, Hani Adel, El Sebaii Mohamed, Ahmed Abdelhamid Hefny



originally published: 2017-08-22 13:58:39



From Our Magazine

Bullitt County

Bullitt County

Bullitt County by David McCracken opens the New Jersey International Film Festival Summer 2018 on Friday, June 1st at 7:00pm. In the psychological-thriller feature film, four buddies with a dark secret reunite after ten years for a bachelor party on the Kentucky Bluegrass Bourbon Trail.  When they discover that their favorite distillery has been turned into a winery, the newly sober groom, Gordie, seizes on an even better adventure: a search for a stash of buried Prohibition money deep in the woods of Bullitt County, Kentucky. His friends reluctantly join him on his quest, only to discover there’s something much more dangerous than cursed treasure.


REVIEW: How To Talk To Girls At Parties

REVIEW: How To Talk To Girls At Parties

‘Punk’s not dead, it just smells that way!” So goes the old joke at the expense of that short-lived but impactful cultural movement that captured the imaginations of teenagers in the New York and London of 1977. Fifteen minutes into John Cameron Mitchell’s adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s short story we begin to get a whiff as pungent as the rotting corpse of Sid Vicious. This, folks, is a stinker!


REVIEW: Hearts Beat Loud

REVIEW: Hearts Beat Loud

The phrase “feel-good movie” tends to get an unfair rep these days. But Brett Haley and Marc Basch’s Hearts Beat Loud is certainly not to blame for that. This make-believe tale of a father and daughter on the cusp of an empty nest transition has more sincerity and virtue than most films submitted for Oscar nods each year, and a lot of that is due to the script, the tone and the performances of its perfectly complementary cast.


No One Can Hurt Me When I Sing

No One Can Hurt Me When I Sing

It’s rare to get the chance to talk to actors portraying their own lives on screen, but Linda Chorney is no ordinary actor and her story is anything but ordinary.  In 2012, she became known as the artist who crashed the Grammy Awards.  Her story is now told in the film, When I Sing.








Event calendar
Monday, Jun 18, 2018


MUSIC


BRUCE HORNSBY & THE NOISEMAKERS @ Bergen Performing Arts Center (bergenPAC), Englewood - 7:30pm

HARRY CONNICK, JR. @ Mayo Performing Arts Center (MPAC), Morristown - 8:00pm


THEATRE

AUDITIONS: Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator @ Studio Playhouse Upper Montclair, Upper Montclair - 7:30pm


COMEDY

MIKE FINOIA, KEVIN FLYNN, KYLE GROOMS @ The Music Box @ Borgata Casino Hotel, Atlantic City - 9:00pm


FILM

ACTION POINT @ The Newton Theatre, Newton - 7:00pm






View all events










 
















For more on our awards, click here








New Jersey Stage © 2018 by Wine Time Media, LLC | PO Box 140, Spring Lake, NJ 07762 (732) 280-7625 | info@newjerseystage.com

Images used on this site have been sent to us from publicists, artists, and PR firms.
If there is a problem with the rights to any image, please contact us and we will look into the matter.