Best Defense

Thomas E. Ricks' daily take on national security.

The Best Defense terrorism film festival continues (IV): Black Friday

One Best Defense reader suggested several Indian films might be part of my terrorism film festival. So we recently tried Black Friday, which is a docudrama about the March 12, 1993, bombings of Bombay that inflicted about 1,000 casualties in one day. My wife the saint walked out about 90 minutes into it, but I ...

573613_100210_Black_friday_bannerv2.jpg
573613_100210_Black_friday_bannerv2.jpg

One Best Defense reader suggested several Indian films might be part of my terrorism film festival. So we recently tried Black Friday, which is a docudrama about the March 12, 1993, bombings of Bombay that inflicted about 1,000 casualties in one day. My wife the saint walked out about 90 minutes into it, but I stuck with it and enjoyed it. It reminded me of Flight 93 -- a tight focus, no narration, no explanation, and a basic assumption that the viewers knows the context in which the film is occurring.

One caveat: I disliked how the film excused the quick use of torture by the Indian police. I especially cringed at the police officer's trite rebuttal: "Where are the human rights of the victims?" As my friend Stu Herrington might say, not only is police torture wrong, it also is counterproductive.

So, I'd recommend this film to anyone thinking about India, but concede that it probably is too difficult to follow for anyone who hasn't been there or who isn't studying the country. Bonus reason: If you are a huge fan of Slumdog Millionaire, you'll want to watch this, because Slumdog clearly was influenced by this film.

One Best Defense reader suggested several Indian films might be part of my terrorism film festival. So we recently tried Black Friday, which is a docudrama about the March 12, 1993, bombings of Bombay that inflicted about 1,000 casualties in one day. My wife the saint walked out about 90 minutes into it, but I stuck with it and enjoyed it. It reminded me of Flight 93 — a tight focus, no narration, no explanation, and a basic assumption that the viewers knows the context in which the film is occurring.

One caveat: I disliked how the film excused the quick use of torture by the Indian police. I especially cringed at the police officer’s trite rebuttal: “Where are the human rights of the victims?” As my friend Stu Herrington might say, not only is police torture wrong, it also is counterproductive.

So, I’d recommend this film to anyone thinking about India, but concede that it probably is too difficult to follow for anyone who hasn’t been there or who isn’t studying the country. Bonus reason: If you are a huge fan of Slumdog Millionaire, you’ll want to watch this, because Slumdog clearly was influenced by this film.

Is it a Top 10 Terrorism Film of All Time? Probably not. But definitely worth taking a look. And thanks to the thoughtful reader who suggested it. And more thanks to him, we have more Indian terrorism films in the queue.

Thomas E. Ricks covered the U.S. military from 1991 to 2008 for the Wall Street Journal and then the Washington Post. He can be reached at ricksblogcomment@gmail.com. Twitter: @tomricks1

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