User Score
8.5

Universal acclaim- based on 33 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 31 out of 33
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 33
  3. Negative: 2 out of 33

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  1. Jun 9, 2013
    8
    Incredibly powerful and intricately detailed, highly acclaimed and widely controversial. "Paradise Now," is a compelling, tightly made thriller set in Nablus, on the West Bank, and lays bare the humanity and the horror for all to see. The film provides a gripping and terrifying insight into the mindset of martyrs by turning the camera on two Palestinian suicide bombers during what they assume to be their final 48 hours.

    The story places two close friends, Said (Kais Nashif) and Khaled (Kais Nashif), recruits by an extremist group to perpetrate a terrorist attack, a suicide mission, in Tel-Aviv. Both men are bathed, shaved, and made to look like Israeli settlers; then they are then strapped with explosives, dressed in dark suits, and are off to carry out their orders. However, things go wrong and both friends must separate at the Palestine border. One of two will maintain in his purpose of carrying out the attack to the very end, and the other will begin to have his doubts.

    Despite condoning their actions and motives, you can't but help to watch the film with a fearsome fascination. The film sustains a mood of breathless suspense. “Paradise Now” is a thriller whose shrewdly inserted plot twists and emotional wrinkles are calculated to put your heart in your throat and keep it there. The movie humanizes the anonymous faces we often see in the news. The director and co-writer, Hany Abu-Assad, undercut any heroism of these young martyrs by presenting their everyday actions with moments of dark humor. During one taping of a farewell message, the video camera malfunctions half way through, and he must start over from the beginning. During another taping, one of the bombers interrupts his political sermon with a personal shopping reminder for his mother.

    The ending is gut-wrenching as it yanks the carpet from under your feet. A purposeful statement that strips away any glamour of terrorism, whatever the cause, reason, or rationale they use to justify it. Their inhuman mission aside, "Paradise Now" does compel an appreciation for these unfortunate young men blindly accepting their fate with empty promises. This is the first Palestinian film to be nominated for an Academy Award.
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Metascore
71

Generally favorable reviews - based on 32 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 27 out of 32
  2. Negative: 0 out of 32
  1. Reviewed by: Phil Hall
    40
    Filmmaker Hany Abu-Assad, who helmed the excellent "Rana's Wedding," missed the boat on this one. He may have hoped to give a human voice to the suicide bombers, but instead he gave them a misfired movie.
  2. The terseness of a thriller, the clarity of a documentary, and a mixture of high drama and low humor.
  3. 75
    Shot in the West Bank, the film radiates authenticity. Even when he plays the action like a thriller, Abu-Assad is in search of a deeper truth.