Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|The Stone Merchant|
Actors: F. Murray Abraham, Harvey Keitel, Jane March, Paco Reconti, Jordi Moll
Director: Renzo Martinelli
Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama, Special Interests, Mystery & Suspense
Plausible story, great set design, cinematography...otherwis
Faisi Island (#2) | Faisi Island (#2) | 09/13/2007
(3 out of 5 stars)
"This is a movie about Islamic terrorists, not Islam or Christianity. The main character, Alceo, is a victim of terrorism, a journalist turned scholar who has become obsessed with learning about why his legs were taken away and so many innocents are murdered in the name of Allah.
When we meet him, he is a modern-day Cassandra who recites reason after reason why we find ourselves in a cultural, religious war (like it or not) yet who is dismissed as paranoid and unreasonable.
I failed to find anything in his character's lines that were historically or factually inaccurate. Yet he is ignored and dismissed by everyone, of course, including his wife, his colleagues, and the police.
Keitel and Abraham give performances commensurate with their experience; Jane March does a good job too. The others...well, I must say there is some poor acting in this film.
The dialogue is bad, the editing is bad, continuity is awful, and the screenplay has more than a few weak spots; this is clearly a B movie, maybe even a C movie struggling desperately to rise to a B.
Nevertheless, the storyline is plausible and appropriately frightening.
I read a review from Variety when this movie was released that called the storyline "highly improbable." I'm sure they would have said the same thing about the events of September 11, 2001. Anyone who's ever taken the Dover-Calais ferry or who's lived in Europe will take the premise of this movie seriously.
In spite of these many failings, the film makes a heraldic point, a statement about exactly what the West faces in militant Islam, based on history. This is the only film I can recall having seen that doesn't try to lay blame for today's Islamic jihad on the West's doorstep. None of the usual vacuous, politically correct blather here. He may not know how to write a good movie but the screenwriter certainly knows his Wahabi Salafists.
Because it takes such a risk, swimming against the fashion, the story (taken alone) seems brave and courageous, truthful while respectful, yet duly alarmist to a degree. Duly alarmist because the story is so eerily plausible. Again, anyone who lives in Europe and travels extensively throughout the continent like me knows it is.
Thus, I found the plot rather gripping overall, in spite of the love subplot, which I did not find plausible at all, as it asks us to accept a committed jihadist on the eve of martyrdom falling truly in love with a card-carrying infidel.
I've seen much worse movies. As an interesting contrast, compare Kingdom of Heaven, a very good film as far as entertainment and production quality go...but complete fiction and propaganda from a historical perspective.