8 June 2006 | henrypijames
The art of telling an incomplete story
In some aspects, this film resembles Crash (the 2006 Oscar winner, that is), both multi-threaded stories facilitating action and suspense to narrate the diversity and convergence of human nature. In other aspects however, Fatwa sets itself apart from the Paul Haggis masterpiece by deliberately keeping many ends loose and concentrate itself on the essentials only.
This minimalistic approach regarding what to tell and what not produces a quite distinctive taste. If Crash were a giant puzzle whose numerous pieces are put together one after another, resulting in a picture which, although just a window to the whole landscape, is in itself round and complete. Fatwa on the other hand would be more of a medium sized puzzle whose pieces are incomplete to start with from the beginning, but nonetheless are being put together despite of the shortage. As the pieces fall into place, however, the ones that have been left out become more and more irrelevant. In the end, a fragmented picture is presented which manages to show an astonishing whole view of the subject it is set to depict.
So, when you watch this film and get the feeling there are too many circumstances you don't understand, please relax and know it's the way it's supposed to be. Instead, pay more attention to what you do understand, and let not your deductions, but your emotional impressions lead you. In retrospect you may find out that the fuzziness of all those circumstances are not only intended, but actually symbolic and therefore essential to the statement of this film: Despiete the different circumstances surrounding us, we all still share the basic human nature. In fact, the complexity of the world is no more than the diverse and yet convergent manifestation of this shared human nature of ours.
The acting of this film is quite impressive. Due to the minimalistic story telling which leaves all characters practically without a personal history or background, it's definitely very difficult for the actors to display the depth of those characters. Considering that, they have all managed to get the job done rather well. Especially Angus Macfadyen shows a supreme performance.
Fatwa is most certainly a film worth watching. You may not get it at first, but eventually you will, I hope.