The War Within (2005) - Rotten Tomatoes

The War Within (2005)



Critic Consensus: The War Within attempts to get into the mind of a terrorist, and the result is believable and unsettling.

Movie Info

A terror plot turns personal for a determined Islamic fundamentalist whose unsuspecting old friend welcomes him into his home under false pretenses in director Joseph Castelo's topical character study. Hassan's (Ayad Akhtar) religious fundamentalism has set him on a path to destruction. After being physically and mentally broken down in Pakistan, Hassan has arrived in New York to carry out a horrifying mission. It's been years since Hassan has seen his old friend Sayeed (Firdous Bamji), but when Hassan shows up on Sayeed's doorstep looking for a place to stay while in New York for a job interview, his old friend welcomes him with open arms. Though Hassan claims to have been studying in Canada for the past few years, in truth he has been preparing to execute a devastating terrorist attack on the city still reeling from the effects of 9/11. The cracks in his story soon begin to show, however, when Sayeed's son requests that their guest teach him how to pray instead of accepting the instruction of his father, and a casual political conversation boils over when Hassan erupts at a holiday barbecue. It seems that Sayeed's sister is the only one capable of breaking through to the determined Hassan, but even she may not have the power to steer him away from the mission he sees as his destiny.more
Rating: R
Genre: Art House & International, Drama
Directed By:
Written By: Joseph Castelo, Ayad Akhtar, Tom Glynn
In Theaters:
On DVD: Jan 31, 2006
Magnolia Pictures - Official Site


Samrat Chakrabarti
as Chief Inspector Khan
Mike McGlone
as Mike O'Reilly
Kamal Marayati
as Imam Hamza
James Rana
as Saudi Man
Christine Commesso
as News Anchorwoman
John Zibell
as Officer Carroll
David Bishins
as Tall Agent
Angel Desai
as Reporter
Per Melita
as Terrorist
Roy Farfel
as CIA Agent #1
Jeff Ward
as CIA Agent #2
Glenn Pike
as CIA Agent #3
Vanessa Landino
as Receptionist
Deepti Gupta
as Woman #1
Farah Bala
as Woman #2
Deepa Purohit
as Woman #3
Goli Samii
as Female Passenger
Troy Hall
as Male Passenger #1
David Connolly
as Male Passenger #2
Dianne Busch
as Ticket Clerk
Manny Siverio
as Stunt Coordinator
Deepti Gupta
as Woman #1
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for The War Within

Critic Reviews for The War Within

All Critics (63) | Top Critics (29)

Akhtar, who also co-wrote the screenplay, is unable to convey Hassan's internal conflicts with any force.

Full Review… | July 7, 2006
Globe and Mail
Top Critic

The storyline in The War Within is far from fluid and, at times, overwrought. But it doesn't stop the film from capturing one's interest.

Full Review… | December 2, 2005
Miami Herald
Top Critic

Very good.

Full Review… | November 21, 2005
Ebert & Roeper
Top Critic

Madly rational and persuasive political drama.

Full Review… | November 2, 2005
Top Critic

Well-made, well-informed and apparently well-meant psychological thriller.

October 14, 2005
Detroit Free Press
Top Critic

Call it a portrait of a mild-mannered zealot, one that seeps under the skin and unsettles the nerves.

Full Review… | October 14, 2005
Washington Post
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for The War Within


[font=Century Gothic]"The War Within" starts with Hassan(Ayad Akhtar) walking down a street in Paris minding his own business when he is unceremoniously snatched by authorities. He is sent to Pakistan under the practice of extraordinary rendition to be tortured about terrorist activities he knows nothing about.[/font]
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[font=Century Gothic]Three years later, Hassan is a changed man. He is smuggled into the United States, as part of a terrorist cell, targeting New York City landmarks. Hassan is assigned Grand Central Station.[/font]
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[font=Century Gothic]"The War Within" is a quietly chilling, subtle and stunning movie that takes a disparaging view of the War on Terror while offering no easy answers. Overall, the movie is sympathetic for the vast majority of Muslims who are caught in the middle between the government that automatically suspects them of violent activities and terrorists who pervert their religion for their own nefarious goals. Remember, the surest way to radicalize somebody is to arrest, torture and then place them in the company of fanatics. [/font]

Walter M.

Super Reviewer

What brings a man to strap explosives to his body and head to Grand Central Station? Definitely a movie that could generate some lively discussion and debate. Passion and conviction depicted without over the top theatrics...beautiful shots of NYC...moral and philisophical questions for contemplation.

I really liked the late night conversation between Hassan and his best friends son where he tries to, in basic terms, explain what is happening overseas to his 'brothers and sisters'. "What would you do if your neighbors decided they wanted to take your house and force you to move to the backyard? And, they had the police on their side. And then, what would happen if they found there was oil under the backyard and they wanted that too so you had to leave and they had the mayor on their side? What would you do?" Eventually, the little boy says, 'Fight'.

'Your government takes actions of which its people are unaware. But ignorance is not innocence.'

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