Review: Inch’Allah


Director:Anais Barbeau-Lavalette

Cast:Evelyne Brochu, Sabrina Ouazani, Sivan Levy, Yousef Sweid

Running Time:102.00


I hope I don't see a movie more depressing than Inch'Allah this year. A movie that features a little boy being run over, a stillbirth, and several bombings, it's a movie fraught with death.

The devastatingly beautiful Evelyne Brochu plays Chloé, a Canadian obstetrician working in the West Bank but living in Jerusalem. As she gets to know her patient Rand (Sabrina Ouazani), she begins to understand just how tough life is in the occupied region.

And she doesn't take it well, often numbing herself with alcohol and meaningless sex. Of course this is part of Inch'Allah's paradoxical problem as a film: We need Chloé as a conduit to process the horrors we're seeing, but this is yet another movie by a Western filmmaker that forces real racial strife to be viewed through the prism of a privileged white person.

Even so, Inch'Allah is frequently harrowing and beautifully shot, the better to detail the daily misery of life in the area. This is a place where everyone is suspicious of each other, where bombings are par for the course. One scene in particular hit me like a punch in the gut: After a particularly powerful explosion, first responders begin stacking cell phones outside the rubble, as one after another begins to ring and vibrate, with the voices on the other end presumably calling to see if the loved one is unharmed.

Scenes like these punctuate lengthy, numbing shots of Chloé commuting to work, through the checkpoint, to work, back through the checkpoint, to her apartment, then to parties and back home, only to repeat the cycle the next day. It gets awfully repetitive, and cuts short time the film could have used to follow more interesting characters like Rand or Chloé's best friend Ava (Sivan Levy).

Inch'Allah provides an all too brief glimpse into the seemingly never-ending conflict between Israel and Palestine. The movie, in an effort not to appear one-sided, offers no clear answers for moving forward. It obviously didn't need to solve the problem, but it could have made an effort to make some kind of statement beyond, "This is bad."


About Kip Mooney

Kip Mooney
Like many film critics born during and after the 1980s, my hero is Roger Ebert. The man was already the best critic in the nation when he won the Pulitzer in 1975, but his indomitable spirit during and after his recent battle with cancer keeps me coming back to read not only his reviews but his insightful commentary on the everyday. But enough about a guy you know a lot about. I knew I was going to be a film critic—some would say a snob—in middle school, when I had to voraciously defend my position that The Royal Tenenbaums was only a million times better than Adam Sandler’s remake of Mr. Deeds. From then on, I would seek out Wes Anderson’s films and avoid Sandler’s like the plague. Still, I like to think of myself as a populist, and I’ll be just as likely to see the next superhero movie as the next Sundance sensation. The thing I most deplore in a movie is laziness. I’d much rather see movies with big ambitions try and fail than movies with no ambitions succeed at simply existing. I’m also a big advocate of fun-bad movies like The Room and most of Nicolas Cage’s work. In the past, I’ve written for The Dallas Morning News and the North Texas Daily, which I edited for a semester. I also contributed to Dallas-based Pegasus News, which in the circle of life, is now part of The Dallas Morning News, where I got my big break in 2007. Eventually, I’d love to write and talk about film full-time, but until that’s a viable career option, I work as an auditor for Wells Fargo. I hope to one day meet my hero, go to the Toronto International Film Festival, and compete on Jeopardy. Until then, I’m excited to share my love of film with you.

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