The Insult [2017] ★★★½

Lebanese filmmaker Ziad Doueiri needs no introduction, having directed a series of successful films over the years. While “West Beirut” will forever remain my favorite movie, his latest effort, “The Insult”, further confirms his skill as a talented storyteller. In short: it’s one of the most intense Lebanese movies I’ve ever seen. What makes “The Insult” so good is the way Doueiri  takes a seemingly ordinary situation and builds a web of suspense around it. Adel Karam (in one of the best performances of his career) plays Toni, a Lebanese christian who can’t seem to let go of the past. One day, he gets into a heated argument with a Palestinian worker (played by an excellent Kamel El Basha), which leads to a domino-like sequence of unpredictable events. Doueiri masterfully explores the dark side of each character, especially as it relates to patriotism, politics, and the consequences of taking revenge. I’d say this is Doueiri’s specialty, and the sense of discomfort he creates throughout this exceptional film will hold you in its grip at every turn. And when it ends, it leaves us with much food for thought, something that’s been missing from most recent Lebanese films. Having been criticized so many times for not supporting local movies, it’s refreshing to finally encounter something worth recommending. Ziad Doueiri’s “The Insult”  is a terrific achievement.



6 replies »

  1. I’m happy to see you praising local movies, but I am also vehemently disgusted. A Adel Karam movie, seriously Anis? How much did MTV pay you for this review? You did appear on Pierre Rabbat’s show after all, did the contract include a term where you have to give all Adel Karam movies good reviews? Although I enjoy your reviews Anis, but apparently the objectivity of your blog can no longer be trusted. Sad!

    • Dear Leila,

      Please watch the movie before you judge. I’m not Adel Karam’s biggest fan (far from it actually), but I love Ziad Doueiri’s work and this movie is no exception. A full house in Venise gave it a standing ovation. This has nothing to do with MTV or any show I appeared on. “The Insult” is the best Lebanese movie of the year. As simple as that.

      • Point taken Mr. Anis, I will reserve my judgement until I watch Adel Karam’s “Insult” on the big screen. Aside from that, I understand that you might have taken my comments in bad taste, so I’d like to clarify that I was merely trying to provide some constructive criticism to your review. Criticism is crucial for any endeavor, although some criticism might be Scrawny, it should always be valued, rather than shamed and mocked on twitter. Bad!

    • I find your comment completely over-the-top and unfair. “vehemently disgusted”? Just because the main actor of this film does not suit your ideals? The movie is well-written, beautifully filmed and something all Lebanese film lovers should be proud of. This review of it is right on point. I had no idea who Adel Karam was before I watched The Insult and I think he was excellent in it, as was the rest of the cast. Frankly I don’t think you should criticize a film reviewer simply for exacting a fair and unbiased opinion of the film. Please go and watch it. It might teach you a thing or two about judging a book by its cover.

  2. Got the chance to watch the movie yesterday and it was really great. If you have more lebanese/arabic movies of such quality and substance please do recommend. Keep up the good work Anis!

    • Thank you Amin I appreciate it! Earlier this year I watched “Mahbas” and it was pretty good. But if you want a truly great Lebanese film, I’d recommend “Film Ktir Kbir”. And do check out “The Nile Hilton Incident”, an Egyptian crime thriller.

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