The Terrorist (1999) - Rotten Tomatoes

The Terrorist (1999)

The Terrorist (1999)




Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

The Terrorist Photos

Movie Info

When writing on a film from a country with a strong cinema culture, it is tempting to compare it with past masters or predict it will hearken a renaissance. However, The Terrorist is unique; respectful of India's cinematic icons, it then breaks both from sensationalism and sentimentalism. With the poeticism that marks Indian cinema, symbols which define the protagonists emotions - the sound of water, a tear, a touch, a flowering tree - acquire remarkable resonance as our hero is identified as a suicide bomber marching toward the end of her young life. Director Samosh Sivan, deeply affected by the killing of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi, decided to focus on the formation of a suicide bomber. Portrayed by the astonishing young actress Ayesha Dharkar, Malli has spent much of her nineteen years in revolutionary training. A hardened killer, she interviews for (an amazing sequence) and wins the coveted bomber position. However, the path to the VIP's assassination allows her to contemplate her own emotions for the first time. Those she meets affect her in a new way; in meditation she reflects on a moment of true love; contemplating her future, she is caught within a psychological divide. The film is awash with sensuality. Sivan, also an award-winning cinematographer, mutes his color scheme to simulate a rich cyanotype. Often the only sound we hear is Malli's breath. And close-ups of her face, humid with the pain of emotional awakening, documented by the photographer capturing the look of modern martyrdom, remain with us long after the film's end.
Art House & International , Drama
Directed By:
Written By:
In Theaters:
Phaedra Cinema


K. Krishna
as Lover
Sonu Sisupal
as Leader
as Lotus
as Sumitra
as Old Lady
as Gopal
as Traitor
Anna Durai
as Photographer
Bhanu Prakash
as Perumal
as Commando
as Terrorist Girl
as Terrorist Girl
as Terrorist Girl
as Terrorist Girl
as Terrorist Girl
as Terrorist Boy
Nurul Islam Bablu
as Terrorist Boy
as Terrorist Boy
Shyam Sunder
as Terrorist Boy
Show More Cast

Critic Reviews for The Terrorist

All Critics (19) | Top Critics (2)

Ayesha Dharkar commands the center. She has expressive, liquid eyes to die for, as well as an out-of-whack sense of inner gravity. And water beads up on her spectacularly.

Full Review… | June 22, 2011
Honolulu Star-Advertiser

As visually poetic and slow-paced as Terrence Malick

Full Review… | May 31, 2008
Old School Reviews

It's not often a movie comes along that affects you like this.

Full Review… | November 22, 2002
Combustible Celluloid

The journey up to the assassination is the reward in this unusual, fascinating and brilliant picture by Santosh Sivan.

Full Review… | September 29, 2002
Internet Reviews

A riveting film with a stirring performance by Ayesha Dharkar.

Full Review… | March 13, 2002
Spirituality and Practice

A serious and morally complex drama that raises provocative questions about how difficult it can be to sustain a sense of personal responsibility in a society destabilized by political upheaval.

January 1, 2000
Christian Science Monitor

Audience Reviews for The Terrorist


great & real about the affects of love on one's perspective of priorities in life... without love, one's life might seem all for naught but with love, one might do anything to live... very capitivating, intense & current... Ayesha Dharker was fantastic...

rosemarie strawn
rosemarie strawn

This is a movie that famously took on a new relevance after the September 11th attacks. The film is about a woman who?s a member of a Siri Lankan terrorist group almost certainly based on the Tamil Tigers. Early on, the woman is assigned to assassinate someone by suicide bombing; the rest of the film follows her as she begins to have doubts about her task. The film was shot on a very small budget and this shows some times, there?s a scene where someone punches through a window but they don?t actually show it, presumably because they couldn?t afford break away glass. In spite of this, the film has beautiful cinematography (the director was originally a DP), and that goes a long way in making this very watchable on a shoe-string. A very interesting film on important subject matter.


Super Reviewer

This was a movie I waited a long time to see. I was excited about it when I heard about it and then forgot about it for a while. Added it when I first got netfilx then lost in in the 200+ queue. Finally, saw it and it took a bit to get into, but a great movie. A parallel, yet great divergence to a movie like Paradise Now, but more so, beautifully filmed/photographed. Only problem I had was jump cut pacing and the need to fill the movie with random music/noises. That really bothers me.

Lee B
Lee B

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