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The War Within [Blu-ray]

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Product Details

  • Actors: Ayad Akhtar, Firdous Bamji, Nandana Sen, Sarita Choudhury, Charles Daniel Sandoval
  • Directors: Joseph Castelo
  • Writers: Ayad Akhtar, Joseph Castelo, Tom Glynn
  • Producers: Gretchen McGowan, Jason Kliot, Joana Vicente, Mark Cuban
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Blu-ray, Color, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: Spanish
  • Region: Region A/1 (Read more about DVD/Blu-ray formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: Magnolia
  • DVD Release Date: September 19, 2006
  • Run Time: 90 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #450,771 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The War Within [Blu-ray]" on IMDb

Special Features


Editorial Reviews

Written and directed by first time filmmaker Joseph Castelo, The War Within is the story of Hassan, (Ayad Akhtar in his debut performance), a Pakistani engineering student in Paris who is mistakenly apprehended for terrorist activities and forcibly interrogated by U.S. intelligence services. So shaken by the experience, he vows revenge and joins a terrorist cell based in New York City with plans to begin the ground war in the United States. On the morning the attack is due to take place, all members of the cell are arrested except Hassan and one other member. Ayad Akhtar, Samrat Chakrabarti, Sarita Choudhury star.

Customer Reviews

I believe we must and will find another way.
Alastair N. Mcleod
THE WAR WITHIN goes beyond the realm of a terrorist story and personalizes the individual wars within each of us in this time of global chaos.
Grady Harp
Akhtar also co-wrote the taut, emotional screenplay, which is a work of art.
G P Padillo

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
It was inevitable that there would be a film about a terrorist bomber in New York. It's scary. And the fact that I saw it on the weekend that New Yorkers have been hearing about a terrorist plot in the subways makes it's especially timely - and especially frightening. Yes, here are all the landmarks I love so well, and the story is just too real for comfort.

The film begins in Paris shortly after 911, when Hassan, an American-educated Pakistani engineer, is forcibly arrested by American forces and sent to Karachi for interrogation and torture. When he is released three years later he is completely radicalized and goes back to America with the intent of destruction. His friend, Sayeed, knows nothing of Hassan's plans, and invites him to stay with his Americanized family in Jersey City. America has been good to Sayeed and he loves his adopted country and become increasingly shocked by Hassan's religious fervor and anti-American thinking.

There's a hint of romance with Sayeed's sister, who Hassan has known since childhood. But mostly Hassan spends a lot of time teaching Sayeed's young son the principles of the Muslim faith. When Hassan's bomb-making friends are arrested, he's left on his own, with the intention of carrying out Allah's will. He's conflicted on many levels though, struggling with his own "war within" as he moves forward to fulfill his intended purpose.

The film brings out the conflicts that exist in Muslim homes across America. There are some social gatherings where they debate these questions. Hassan sees no possibility of compromise though. He accuses his hosts of letting their soft lives in America make them weak. It is all very disturbing.
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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Steve Koss VINE VOICE on February 11, 2006
Format: DVD
Terrorist. The very word has taken on a life of its own. The image, fostered and encouraged by the current Bush Administration, is immediate and unquestioned: irrational, undereducated, brainwashed, rabid frothing at the mouth -- evil incarnate. Now with THE WAR WITHIN, director Joseph Castelo forces us to confront the terrorism issue from the other side, through the desperate and despairing eyes of an individual whose very radicalization is spawned by America's own post-9/11 policies in Iraq and elsewhere. In doing so, he takes us into the heart and soul of an educated man bent on revenge against the monolith that is America, telling a story whose depth and complexity put Hollywood's recent version, SYRIANA, to shame. THE WAR WITHIN is a brilliant and compelling examination of the many "wars within" - within the borders of the United States, within the American psyche, within a man's soul, within a circle of family and friends, even within the hearts of children.

The focus of Castelo's tale is Hassan, an engineer by training, a graduate of the University of Maryland who has furthered his studies in France. Seized on the streets of Paris by American forces under the policy of extraordinary rendition, Hassan is spirited away to Karachi, Pakistan where he is befriended by his cellmate, Khalid. Hassan is beaten and horribly tortured for information and is shown a brutally violent picture of his dead brother Mustafa, but he insists he knows nothing (a situation director Castelo properly leaves intentionally ambiguous). Three years later, Hassan enters the United States as a stowaway in a huge shipping container and reconnects with Khalid through the mysterious Izzy.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Janet L on January 20, 2006
Format: DVD
I saw this movie in New York, of all places. It was thrilling. It is less a film about terrorism and more about people caught in the vortex of an impossible situation. Ayad Akhatar, as the suicide bomber, is very good. Firdous Bamji as his best friend is the heart of this movie and heart breaking. His "war within" is really the most interesting part of this film. The rest of the cast does admirable work. And the end will leave you absolutely shattered. And determined to change the world.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By G P Padillo VINE VOICE on June 7, 2006
Format: DVD
I watched this film two nights ago, and have since been continually haunted by it day and night. Has anyone else seen this amazing, harrowing and thought provoking film?

The story takes place relatively soon following September 11th. Hassan, a brilliant young Pakistani engineer - U.S. educated, now living in Paris, is mistakenly identified as a terrorist, abducted and arrested by the U.S. and sent away where he is tortured relentlessly, interrogated and broken for a period of three years. He is a liberal, non-religious man who openly disdains his fundamentalist Muslim cellmate and all he stands for. However, this cellmate bathes, feeds him and cares for Hassan tending to his wounds and patiently befriending him. Naturally, over the three years, a bond is formed (we see this mostly through flashbacks later in the film) - and upon his release Hassan heads for the United States to join a sleeper cell intent on destroying a major U.S. facility. Arriving in the U.S. he is reunited with his best friend from Pakistan and his family who have become somewhat liberal in their religion and blend into the cultural melting pot that is American society. Hassan is confused, and tortured, but devout.

I won't go into or give away further details of the tale (and the above shouldn't ruin anything - it's only slightly more elaborate than what's on the outside of the box), but the movie had me alternately enraged, uplifted and embarassed.

The performances are uniformly excellent with Ayad Akhtar taking pride of place in an absolutely astonishing big screen debut as Hassan.
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