Night of Destiny | Chicago Reader

Night of Destiny

An elderly Algerian emigre (Gamil Ratib), en route to a prayer service at a Paris mosque, witnesses the contract killing of a business executive and finds himself being hunted by the assassins and the police in this 1999 French thriller. Writer-director Abdelkrim Bahloul turns the investigation into a kaleidoscopic look at the Arab community in Paris, which is plagued by discrimination, generational conflicts, and shifting religious values. Veering between suspense and ethnography, his script often seems overly schematic (the story climaxes on the last day of Ramadan), and the murder mystery proves less engrossing than the characters' personal dilemmas. But there is one fine Hitchcockian sequence, in which the killers search for the witness in a roomful of white-robed Muslims. In French and Arabic with subtitles. 96 min.

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