is an 87-minute roller coaster of deception and trickery, which may leave you feeling nauseated. The story is about an honest man being pulled – better yet, allowing himself to be pulled – into and destroyed by a web of lies. Anyone who has trusted someone even after trust has been broken can relate to this; hopefully, nowhere near this level. This is one film that has to be seen to be fully understood and to do it justice, so I’m not going to give away much about the plot at all here. Sorry, haters!
As a political thriller, the films tackles issues involving a post-9/11 New York, with fine performances by Abdellatif Kechiche and Robin Wright Penn. A twisted, lonely, and angered woman, Phoebe (Wright Penn) pushes her way into the cab and life of Ashade (Kechiche). She discovers an opportunity to use his problems in an effort to reaffirm her self-worth. The political view here being the way some Americans still let racism prevail in their view of Muslims, particularly those in America.
As far as relationships, we see an interaction of two people who are harboring feelings of self-hate. Since the events of 9/11, Phoebe no longer feels important and is trying to find meaning to her life. Ashade is struggling to the do the right thing due to his attraction to a woman he can’t have. As their worlds collide, we view their vulnerability. Phoebe is willing to go to dangerous lengths to create purpose in her life. Ashade is a good man willing to believe this woman is really trying to help him, even after she damages his life.
On both the audio commentary with director Jeff Stanzler and Wright Penn and the bonus roundtable discussion moderated by Tim Robbins, they brought up the important issues of this film. They discussed certain scenes and things viewers might have missed, such as the placement of photos in certain shots or the importance of the actions in a particular scene; even the fact this film was a study of people and relationships in society in general.
As an added note, in the film there is a fictional television channel that has an important role in the film, Q-Dog. It’s an MTV-type station that’s most popular show is called Sorry, Haters, a Cribs-type show, which allows the viewer to see how the newly rich and famous spend their money. There are two scenes in which an opinion is expressed as to what affect channels such as that one have on the culture and our youth.