Quick Review: Inch’Allah (2013)

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Also known as: I watch all of Evelyne Brochu’s films – Part deux

For a film that takes a front-row seat at the never ending Israel-Palestine conflict, Inch’Allah is surprisingly insular. Lavette’s film takes a unique, female perspective on the conflict, for once creating a protagonist that is a. not male, and b. not a soldier, and for that, it’s to be commended. Dodging the ‘white saviour’ trope nicely, the story of Chloe (Evelyne Brochu), a young Canadian doctor living in Israel and working in Palestine, Inch’Allah is anchored by a muted but wide-eyed and emotional performance from Brochu that never falls into the trap of letting the tears fall, this music-free film, shot in a verite style, gives a slightly different perspective to that splashed daily across television screens.

But I can’t help but feel that Inch’Allah could have been much more involving and affecting. For a film so rooted in messy decisions, epiphanies and tragedy, there’s an odd lack of depth. While Brochu is great, she can only do so much with a character that could have been shaded much more intricately, going beyond the surface story of a young doctor in the middle of a war. It’s almost too muted and subtle, too hell-bent on living in the moment and not providing back story that at times, it does just feel like a TV news segment designed to educate the viewer in 5 minutes about Palestine. Lavette always seems to be keeping you at arms length, not as immersed in the conflict as Chloe is, which is the major plot point, and the key to the entire film.

The first and near-last scenes are some of the best of the whole film, where it’s as chilling and moving as it should have constantly been, fully exhibiting Chloe’s existence in a complicated, tangled world of friendships and obligations. There was a lot of potential here to explore this, the conflict and the culture, the narrative idea here is very, very interesting, but it’s largely left unfulfilled. We’re given an interesting insight into the location, but rarely does it venture past that.

Rating: 3/5

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