HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
 
Newest Reviews
American Fiction
Poor Things
Thunderclap
Zeiram
Legend of the Bat
Party Line
Night Fright
Pacha, Le
Kimi
Assemble Insert
Venus Tear Diamond, The
Promare
Beauty's Evil Roses, The
Free Guy
Huck and Tom's Mississippi Adventure
Rejuvenator, The
Who Fears the Devil?
Guignolo, Le
Batman, The
Land of Many Perfumes
Cat vs. Rat
Tom & Jerry: The Movie
Naked Violence
Joyeuses Pacques
Strangeness, The
How I Became a Superhero
Golden Nun
Incident at Phantom Hill
Winterhawk
Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City
Maigret Sets a Trap
B.N.A.
Hell's Wind Staff, The
Topo Gigio and the Missile War
Battant, Le
Penguin Highway
Cazadore de Demonios
Snatchers
Imperial Swordsman
Foxtrap
   
 
Newest Articles
3 From Arrow Player: Sweet Sugar, Girls Nite Out and Manhattan Baby
Little Cat Feat: Stephen King's Cat's Eye on 4K UHD
La Violence: Dobermann at 25
Serious Comedy: The Wrong Arm of the Law on Blu-ray
DC Showcase: Constantine - The House of Mystery and More on Blu-ray
Monster Fun: Three Monster Tales of Sci-Fi Terror on Blu-ray
State of the 70s: Play for Today Volume 3 on Blu-ray
The Movie Damned: Cursed Films II on Shudder
The Dead of Night: In Cold Blood on Blu-ray
Suave and Sophisticated: The Persuaders! Take 50 on Blu-ray
Your Rules are Really Beginning to Annoy Me: Escape from L.A. on 4K UHD
A Woman's Viewfinder: The Camera is Ours on DVD
Chaplin's Silent Pursuit: Modern Times on Blu-ray
The Ecstasy of Cosmic Boredom: Dark Star on Arrow
A Frosty Reception: South and The Great White Silence on Blu-ray
You'll Never Guess Which is Sammo: Skinny Tiger and Fatty Dragon on Blu-ray
Two Christopher Miles Shorts: The Six-Sided Triangle/Rhythm 'n' Greens on Blu-ray
Not So Permissive: The Lovers! on Blu-ray
Uncomfortable Truths: Three Shorts by Andrea Arnold on MUBI
The Call of Nostalgia: Ghostbusters Afterlife on Blu-ray
Moon Night - Space 1999: Super Space Theater on Blu-ray
Super Sammo: Warriors Two and The Prodigal Son on Blu-ray
Sex vs Violence: In the Realm of the Senses on Blu-ray
What's So Funny About Brit Horror? Vampira and Bloodbath at the House of Death on Arrow
Keeping the Beatles Alive: Get Back
   
 
  Insyriated Staying Put
Year: 2017
Director: Philippe Van Leeuw
Stars: Hiam Abbass, Diamand Bou Abboud, Juliette Navis, Mohsen Abbas, Moustapha Al Kar, Alissar Kaghadou, Ninar Halabi, Mohammad Jihad Sleik, Elias Khatter, Husam Chadat, Issan Dib, Orwa Kultum
Genre: Drama, WarBuy from Amazon
Rating:  6 (from 1 vote)
Review: Syria, and the civil war is raging across the nation as government forces clash with the rebels, and there are bombings, missiles and snipers ever-present that makes life extremely difficult for any of the population who have refused to leave and become refugees. One Damascus apartment block houses a group of people who are trying to scrape by in these severely restrictive circumstances, and Oum Yazan (Hiam Abbass) is, on top of all her other concerns, fretting over the absence of her husband who left a few days ago and has not been in contact since. She puts on a brave face for the sake of her children, but with a fresh tragedy occurring today, how can she hold it all together?

Writer and director Philippe Van Leeuw had already made a film about the civil war in Rwanda when he decided to embark on a similar project intended to bring the reality of living with war to countries that were not so afflicted, and Syria was the obvious choice, never out of the news thanks to the atrocities and dreadful conditions there that had seen countless refugees seek a new place to live away from the nightmare their homeland had turned into. This had created resentment in many quarters, from those who believed the other countries should step in to bring the conflict to a close, to those who didn't see why this huge influx of asylum seekers and migrants had to come to them.

Therefore you would think Van Leeuw's film would be providing a valuable service, but the truth was this was never going to be a blockbuster as problems in the countries it was released in proved more important than that of Syria's; it's true everywhere has issues to deal with, but that seemed to translate into a wave of sentiment along the lines of "don't bother us with this, can't you see we have enough to be getting on with ourselves?" Those who did seek out a drama about a war in the Middle East were more more attuned to international affairs and as a result more naturally sympathetic, but even they would have to wonder what, realistically, they could possibly do in response.

That sense of futility, that there was never going to be an end to the wars in the Middle East, was in every scene and most notable in the last which opted not to suggest a solution and instead leave it open, resolving nothing, partly because at the point the film had been made nothing had indeed been resolved. It was frustrating, but you could not think of an alternative conclusion that would have satisfied without looking like something from the realms of fantasy: the situation genuinely was that dire, and if this production telescoped all sorts of ills visited upon its characters into one day, then Van Leeuw could be forgiven for attempting to deliver his message with as much emphasis, and covering as much ground, as possible. Well, you say it covers a lot of ground, but that was ironic as the action barely left the apartment.

This claustrophobic atmosphere, the feeling that the terror was inescapable, was one of the strengths of Insyriated - though its "What does that mean, then?" title was assuredly not - and the cast handled it well, with Israeli star Abbass worthwhile as the matriarch who finds she cannot be guaranteed to make the right decisions when spur of the moment options were all that were available to her. Also worthy of praise was Diamand Bou Abboud as Halima, who has the bad day to end all bad days when her husband is shot by a sniper seconds after leaving their apartment, then is abandoned by her terrified neighbours to be raped by a couple of vile men in the room next to where they are hiding as all the while her horror of what they could do to her baby presses on her anguished emotions. Understandably, there was little time for humour, but there was little time for hope too, and the lack of coming up with any message other than "Don't just sit there, do something!" was unhelpful when we couldn't see what we could do. Powerful in places, but intentionally or not, it shut down optimism. Music by Jean-Luc Fafchamps.

[Curzon's DVD has an interview with the director and a trailer as extras.]
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 2462 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star probably has psychic powers?
Laurence Fishburne
Nicolas Cage
Anya Taylor-Joy
Patrick Stewart
Sissy Spacek
Michelle Yeoh
Aubrey Plaza
Tom Cruise
Beatrice Dalle
Michael Ironside
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Enoch Sneed
Darren Jones
  Louise Hackett
Mark Le Surf-hall
Andrew Pragasam
Mary Sibley
Graeme Clark
  Desbris M
   

 

Last Updated: