Published 28 January 2010
by DAN CARRIER
THIS is a carefully constructed film that prompts you to consider some uncomfortable questions about stereotypes, racism and belief.
We meet Sabine (Arsinee Khanjian), who teaches French and drama at a Toronto secondary school. She asks her class to translate a news story she reads out, which is based on a real incident concerning an attempt by a terrorist to smuggle a bomb on board a jet heading for Israel – by using his pregnant girlfriend as a courier with no idea of the deadly cargo she is carrying.
One of her pupils, Simon (Devon Bostick), takes turns the news story into a piece of fiction – featuring his mother and father as the terrorists, and himself as the unborn child in the mother’s womb.
We learn that Simon’s parents died in a car crash eight years previously, and he has been raised by his uncle, who has never come to terms with the loss of his sister. This alternative story of what happened to his parents gains credence with his friends and teachers.
More fuel is poured on the fire by the dying words of his grandfather Morris, who tells his grandson that the incident that killed his parents was no accident – that his father crashed the car on purpose.
Things become complicated as Simon’s school friends believe his story is true, which prompts an online debate about terror and racism. And, as Simon finds things developing out of his control, Sabine reveals she is holding a secret that will change Simon’s life forever – it is these further, unexpected twists that help create a story of grief and generational bigotry.
At times you feel things could be gee’d along bit, but by the end the reason for things to be taken slowly becomes more obvious as the story has plenty for you to ponder, while the fact the mother was a violinist gives the director plenty of excuses for some moody string music to accompany the slow bits.