Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Angels Weep in Pakistan

Author(s): Ricky
Location: Maryland

"Angels Weep in Pakistan"

Directed by Sofia Coppola
Written by Sofia Coppola

Main Cast

Kate Hudson as Amber Nelson
Diane Keaton as Mrs. Nelson
Tim Robbins as Mr. Nelson
Lewis Alsamari as Nawaz
Aminah Haq as Ayesha
Arnold Vosloo as General Jahman
Shohreh Aghdashloo as Mother Ahmed

Tagline: "Forbidden love has no boundaries"

Synopsis: A story of evil, love, stubbornness, and trust. Mr. and Mrs. Nelson (Robbins and Keaton) visit their daughter Amber (Hudson), a prominent journalist based in Pakistan, and over the span of a few weeks begin to grow wary of their safety. Mr. Nelson in particular is uncomfortable at his daughter's growing attraction to a Pakistani prison officer, Nawaz Ahmed (Alsamari), who the two parents believe through their racist nature is a terrorist.

On the other side of the spectrum, Nawaz's sick mother (Aghdashloo) and older sister Ayesha (Haq) do not approve of the relationship. His older sister pressures him to drop the relationship not only for their mothers health, but for his own good. Their mother didn't know, but they were both firm supporters and participants in the local terrorist cell. Amber being an American reporter with suspicious parents made Ayesha very uneasy. Nawaz refuses to give up Amber, claiming that he loves her. Ayesha is extremely disappointed but says that if he doesn't let go of the girl, she will have to take care of it.

During a heated argument where Mrs. Nelson tells her daughter that she is being brainwashed into abandoning her family, Amber strikes her across the face accusing her of stealing her happiness. Mrs. Nelson cries as she tells her stubborn daughter how much she loves her and worries about her. Amber not wanting to hear any of it banishes her parents from her house and her life. At the airport, Mrs. Nelson, while using the restroom, is hassled by several Pakistani men who shake her stall. Frightened for her life, she screams out for Mr. Nelson who eventually comes to her rescue.

General Jahman (Vosloo), the head of the local terrorist cell receives a call of concern from Ayesha. His reaction to the call tells the audience that something devastating is about to occur. Meanwhile, Amber and Nawaz had just finished making love and were laying together in the bed when Nawaz tells Amber that the two of them must disappear as soon as possible. A confused and naive Amber questions her lover as to why they must disappear from this place. Nawaz reveals to Amber his real occupation as an influential member of the local terrorist cell which disgusts her. Amber jumps from bed and grabs a lamp, aims it at Nawaz, and tells him to stay back. The next thing we see is a shot of Amber's house. Amber can be heard screaming out in pain as Nawaz's shadow is seen through the window striking her. Suddenly, a gunshot rings through the night and Nawaz is seen falling to the ground. General Jahman's face them comes into frame blowing the smoke from his revolver.

A month later, Mr. and Mrs. Nelson receive a call from ABC, the news channel their daughter was employed with. It turns out that Amber had been reported missing as she hadn't checked in for at least two weeks. In an emotional scene, Mr. Nelson goes into a fit of rage breaking everything in his sight before collapsing on the floor crying. Amber was never found. The movie finishes with a scene of Ayesha knitting with her mother in a rocking chair. Several masked men pump rifles in the air while Ayesha smiles triumphantly.

Amber and Nawaz's love for each other was too much to break apart. It cost them both in the end.

What the Press would say:

A provocative, unflinching look at the complexity of racial tolerance of an American family in post 9/11 Pakistan as well as a brewing forbidden love. Similiar to many love stories, the two love subjects refuse to end their romance because they love one another. The film takes a turn from other movies of this caliber by putting the lives of the loved ones in danger, ultimately ending in the surprising death of both of the main characters.

Sofia Coppola was able to write with such directness and such a good ear for everyday speech that the characters seem real and plausible after only a few words. Her cast is uniformly strong; the actors sidestep clich├ęs and make their characters particular. Kate Hudson perfectly nails all of the naivety and wide-eyed innocence of a young woman filled with ambition being exposed to a truth that really isn't quite what she expected. Model and newcomer Aminah Haq comes across as the perfect villain appearing callous and greedy, yet displaying passionate love for her mother and her brother.

Lewis Alsamari, the confused prison officer, was able to bring his performance to another level by having his character show a deep affliction between staying with Amber or leaving her. Tim Robbins did amazing with bringing a tough father look to the screen who finally breaks down after hearing his daughter's fate. He meshed extremely well with Diane Keaton who played concerned mother who tried to rip her daughter from her relationship. There's not much of Shohreh Aghdasloo in the film, but she by far is one of the most important characters being a reason why Aminah is trying to rip Lewis away from Kate. Arnold Vosloo fit the role of the ruthless, by-any-means-necessary general.

An altered tear-jerker for today's audiences, Angels Weep in Pakistan is sure to bring in great reviews.

Best Picture
Best Director - Sofia Coppola
Best Actress - Kate Hudson
Best Actor - Lewis Alsamari
Best Supporting Actor - Tim Robbins, Arnold Vosloo
Best Supporting Actress- Diane Keaton, Aminah Haq, Shohreh Aghdashloo
Best Original Screenplay - Sofia Coppola

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