The Terrorist (1999) - Rotten Tomatoes

The Terrorist (1999)

The Terrorist (1999)

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Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

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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.

Cast

Vishwas
as Lotus
Anuradha
as Sumitra
Bhavani
as Old Lady
Gopal
as Gopal
Saravana
as Traitor
Anna Durai
as Photographer
Bala
as Commando
Kanya
as Terrorist Girl
Swetha
as Terrorist Girl
Sheela
as Terrorist Girl
Devi
as Terrorist Girl
Ishwarya
as Terrorist Girl
Ramanan
as Terrorist Boy
Nurul Islam Bablu
as Terrorist Boy
Shailesh
as Terrorist Boy
Shyam Sunder
as Terrorist Boy
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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.

June 22, 2011 | Rating: 2/4 | Full Review…

As visually poetic and slow-paced as Terrence Malick

May 31, 2008 | Rating: A- | Full Review…

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

November 22, 2002 | Rating: 3.5/4 | Full Review…

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

September 29, 2002 | Rating: 3.5/4 | Full Review…

A riveting film with a stirring performance by Ayesha Dharkar.

March 13, 2002 | Full Review…

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 | Rating: 3/4

Audience Reviews for The Terrorist

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.

MJS MJS
MJS MJS

Super Reviewer

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