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.

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The drama The War Within attempts to put a human face on a suicide bomber. Ayad Akhtar plays Hassan, a student from Pakistan matriculating in Paris. He is arrested for being a possible terrorist, and his brutal handling puts him in the mood for revenge when he eventually gets released. He becomes involved in a terrorist organization and eventually makes his way to the United Sates in order to carry out a bombing plot. When the other members in the plan are arrested, Hassan begins living with an old friend of his who lives a normal American life. Hassan begins to question his desire to go through with the bombing plot when he sees the happiness of his old friend.
Art House & International , Drama
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Written By:
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Ayad Akhtar
as Hassan
Firdous Bamji
as Sayeed
Samrat Chakrabarti
as Chief Inspector Khan
Mike McGlone
as Mike O'Reilly
Kamal Marayati
as Imam Hamza
Ajay Naidu
as Naved
Anjeli Chapman
as Rasheeda
James Rana
as Saudi Man
Christine Commesso
as News Anchorwoman
John Zibell
as Officer Carroll
Michael Balsely
as Agent #1
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
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Critic Reviews for The War Within

All Critics (58) | Top Critics (26)

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

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.

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

While most modern family dramas are concerned with dynamics and generational gaps and most films on terrorism are punched up into action films, this one crosspollinates with astounding effects. The conceit is simple: what if a Pakistani man who feels he is pushed to join the ranks of a terrorist cell confronts a moral dilemma when he reconnects with an old friend in the United States? In the film's first act, the protagonist is on a bus waiting to be dropped off at Grand Central Station carrying a bomb as part of a plan to demolish major landmarks across New York. At the last minute, the plan is foiled, and he is one of two who escapes capture, so he seeks refuge with an old friend and his family. You may be able to predict much of the riffing in the film's middle, particularly when he encounters those who would dissuade or enhance his wavering beliefs, but thankfully the film stays away from the expected by avoiding rampant, unjust persecution of foreigners by United States government. What really puts this film over the top is the blase way in which terrorism is displayed. The protagonist never comes across as a madman, and even as he is seen tampering with bombs, he never feels unsympathetic. Better yet, the film's climax is up for grabs until the final minute. This should appeal to a variety of interested parties, but more than anything, those looking for a good drama that is different from everything else need look no further.

Bryan Way
Bryan Way

This movie is just not very good. The plot is mildly interesting at best. The acting is mediocre. And it appears as though the budget was somewhere in the ballpark of 30 bucks.

Amanda Hendsbee
Amanda Hendsbee

The War Within succeeds only as a thriller with some wartime overtones, rather than as a character study that thrills. Sometimes too pat and sometimes ragged with omissions and confusions, but it's still a fascinating look outside of that familiar world and into a harsher one.

Lee Mayo
Lee Mayo

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