The Insult is over-the-top. It begins with unique charm, but that approach eventually consumes too much time and spills over – much like the pivotal argument that Ziad Doueiri’s movie is centred around.
In Beirut, mandatory construction ordered by the city is the crux of a heated exchange between Yasser (Kamel El Basha) and Toni (Adel Karam). Yasser, a Palestinian worker installing safer equipment, is confronted by Toni, an auto mechanic of Lebanese Christian descent, who is livid about a new installation to his balcony that he did not approve of. Hard stares and harsh words are exchanged, revealing frustrations from both men as well as unsettling reasons for why Toni escalated his attitude so quickly.
While The Insult may present itself with close cinematography and skeptical narrative stretches, it’s doing so to prove a point about how to confront outrageous prejudice, and how to eliminate it. The resolutions may be too clean cut and on the nose (considering how coincidentally timely the film’s release is), but the script (written by Doueiri and Joelle Touma) ultimately sticks with viewers and sheds more light on the current issue of tolerance.
Perhaps The Insult doesn’t match its high “Oscar nominee” status, but it’s an important film nonetheless.
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Addison Wylie: @AddisonWylie