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The Insult is an edge-of-your-seat thriller and drama about a conflict which arises between Tony Hanna (Adel Karam), a Lebanese Christian, and Yasser Salameh (Kamel E Basha), a Palestinian refugee. The two individuals start an argument over something relatively small which could have easily been resolved with a simple apology. Things go in a much different direction. Directed by the acclaimed filmmaker Ziad Douiri (The Attack), this is a strong political film about a major world issue.
Instead of resolving the conflict with an apology shared between them, things rapidly spiral out of control between the two men. A giant court-room battle begins between the two sides over insults thrown. The reason for their immense conflict soon becomes clear: it's less about the insult that was thrown (no matter how harsh) and more about a long unspoken conflict still dividing these two groups of people. The court battle rages on with one turn after another.
As the film unfolds, the story delves deep into the background of the conflict between Lebanese Christians and Palestinians. This film has much on its mind as it explores the deep wounds on both sides. It explores war and conflict with a clear precision. One of the film's main points is that pain is universal.
Ultimately, however, this is a film about finding common ground and about learning how to recognize the other: understanding that no matter what happened in the past, both sides (the Lebanese Christians and Palestinians) should be able to recognize in each other their inner humanity and be able to see that the pain the other side feels is real.
At its core, The Insult is about recognizing humanity in those who might appear to be different but who actually aren't as different as sometimes feared. This is an important topic given the global climate today of rising racism and anti-immigrant groups taking foot more across the world. Controversial upon release in some countries, The Insult demands audiences become involved in this topic of conversation.
From a production standpoint, The Insult is a terrific effort. The cinematography by Tommaso Fiorilli (Go Home, The Attack) provides a impressive backdrop to the events of the film. The music score by Eric Neveux (The Attack) is surprisingly energetic and exciting, giving the storytelling an often electronic and upbeat musical sensibility.
The production design by Hussein Baydoun (Dawn of the World) is effective and the detail on the sets is superb. Another aspect that is noteworthy is the precision editing by Dominique Marcombe (West Beirut, The Attack). The editing gives a energetic pace that never stalls whatsoever during the story.
Written by Ziad Douiri and Joelle Touma (The Attack, Lila Says), The Insult is an impressive film from a storytelling perspective. There are countless lengthy monologues and its dialogue heavy yet the storytelling energy is consistent. Directed by Ziad Douiri (The Attack, Lila Says), the filmmaking sensibility is superb and engaging. Douiri has excellent style and he brings out the best from the actors. This film is guaranteed to be a thought provoking experience for all who watch it.
Presented on Blu-ray from Cohen Media Group with a 1080p MPEG-4 AVC encoded high definition presentation in the 2.35:1 widescreen original theatrical aspect ratio. This is an impressive presentation of the film with strong clarity and contrast. Colors are also quite pleasant. As per usual for Cohen Media, the encode also has a high bit-rate encode which contributes to the high quality of the video.
The Insult is presented in 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio Arabic with English subtitles. This is a faithful presentation of the original language audio track. The Insult has an impressive sound presentation with surprisingly effective surround sound integration during several sequences. From the loud roaring sounds of the outdoors to the score music by Eric Neveux, the audio presentation has good depth.
The release includes a printed booklet featuring photo stills and cast/crew film credits.
Conversations from the Quad with Ziad Doueiri and Richard Pena (HD, 33 min.) is an insightful interview and conversation between the filmmaker of The Insult and Richard Pena of Cohen Media Group. Ziad Doueiri explains in great depth his approach to making the film, why he made it, and how it was received around the world. Of interesting note, perhaps, is the fact Rango (yes, the animated film with the gecko voiced by Johnny Depp) was an inspiration . Exploring the serious themes of the film at depth as well, this is a must-see piece for any viewers.
The Insult is an intense dramatic-thriller about an insult which brews a courtroom battle. It's about the ways in which people can become divided by blind hate without the ability to see another's point of view. It's a film filled with humanity and pathos for learning to recognize common humanity within others. Ziad Doueiri has directed an important social commentary which should spark debate and conversation. Cohen Media Group's Blu-ray release features a quality presentation and good supplements.
Neil Lumbard is a lifelong fan of cinema. He aspires to make movies and has written two screenplays on spec. He loves writing, and currently does in Texas.