The Island
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Based very loosely on the real-life toppling of Middle Eastern drug lord Ezzat Hanafy, director Serif Arafa's action thriller-cum-operatic crime saga El Arafa unfurls on an island in Northern Egypt with an economy tied almost exclusively to the local arms and opium trade. As the tale opens, a police officer named Tarek (Mahmoud Abdel Moghney) arrives on the said island with the stated objective of pulling together information about the criminal kingpin who runs the place, Mansour Hefny (Ahmed El-Sakka). He receives a wealth of contradictory information - not because the island residents… More

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Rotten Tomatoes Score: 63%

Critic Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes

"A contemplative fable, not without its wry wit, which effectively ponders the workings of faith, specifically the connection between gnawing guilt and a desire to do good."
‑ , Time Out
"An aggravating combination of piousness, arty self-pity, and knowing silliness meant to speak to higher spiritual truths."
‑ Wesley Morris, Boston Globe
"Stunning to look at and ambitious in its symbolic rendering of the subject."
‑ David Parkinson, Empire Magazine
"A slow and sometimes testing parable of sin, faith and redemption, Pavel Lungin's film escapes impenetrable tedium thanks mainly to a captivating central performance."
‑ Lee Griffiths, Little White Lies
"The performances have a gruff splendour, the scenery is powerful. But Louguine lacks the talent, or Tarkovskian vision, to pack the screen with the kind of visual transcendentalism the story and dialogue peddle."
‑ Nigel Andrews, Financial Times
"The Island is visually stunning in its bleak, blue-hued austerity, but its storytelling is simplistic."
‑ Jonathan F. Richards,
"Both heartfelt and ultimately optimistic."
‑ Derek Adams, Time Out
"An unsentimental journey of guilt, atonement and redemption, with moments of comic bleakness. Your eyes will be smarting."
‑ , Times [UK]
"It's very easy to become weary with the ever-remorseful Anatoly, despite his mischievous sense of humour, and you find yourself yearning to cuff him about the ear and telling him to get over it."
‑ , Sky Movies
"Nothing much is certain in this bleakly enigmatic tale, which moves at a pace most will find unacceptable. Those who stay the course will perhaps, like the monk himself, want to take a long rest afterwards."
‑ Anthony Quinn, Independent
"Screenplay by young Dmitry Sobolev, a student at Moscow's VGIK film school, has a familiar, almost folksy structure, making for satisfying storytelling but leaving viewers with less to ponder after the story's final, largely foreseeable twist."
‑ , Variety
"Almost a sinful pleasure is Andrey Zhegalov's striking widescreen cinematography."
‑ Deborah Young, Variety
"The folksy structure both lulls and frustrates, and there's something dirgeish about the endless scenes of soul-wracking and tea-brewing. The cinematography's almost inappropriately pretty, though."
‑ Catherine Shoard, Guardian [UK]
"Overall, the story's just a bit too neat to carry the portentous weight that the film-maker seems to be willing into the material."
‑ Trevor Johnston, Radio Times
"A strange film but invested with an absorbing atmosphere as if Tarkovsky, and maybe God, had been advisers."
‑ Derek Malcolm, This is London
More reviews for The Island on Rotten Tomatoes