Starring: Marwan Kenzari, Toby Kebbell and Maisa Abd Elhadi
Directed by: Ariel Vromen
The true story of Ashraf Marwan, The former Egyptian President Nasser’s son-in-law and special advisor to his successor Anwar Sadat. Despite being an important person within Egypt he simultaneously became a precious asset to Israel during the 70’s as he attempted to bring peace to the region.
I had never heard of either the movie or the man the story is based on until a few weeks ago my work colleague told my about The Angel and even though it usually isn’t his sort of movie he was very impressed and encouraged me to watch it. Intrigued as he usually watches mostly horror B movies, so for him to watch a political espionage movie based on a true story is unusual and to recommend it for me was all I needed to give this film a chance.
The movie as a whole was so interesting as it was a part of recent history that is so alien to me and as well as being thoroughly entertained I felt that I was learning at the same time. The entire movie was an intense, dramatic ride which had me on the edge of my seat as Ashraf risked his and his family’s lives in order to try and achieve peace within the region between Egypt and Israel. Initially he was merely the son-in-law to the Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nassar until his untimely death and he managed to reposition himself as a trusted advisor to the President’s successor, Anwar Sadat. While Egypt flirted with a potential war with Israel, Ashraf was seated in the perfect place to gather information on possible impending strikes and is able to warn Israel so they are ready for any sieges in an attempt to try and save as many innocent lives as possible. Ashraf is played by the little known Marwan Kenzari but he was absolutely incredible in his role as he plays the character with such grace and believability that you get behind the character every step of the way once you know his intentions are pure.
I loved the relationship between Ashraf and Mossad agent “Alex”, played by Toby Kebbell, as they try and hash out a deal and get the upper hand over each other in a tussle for control in this cagey and tense battle where both men ultimately want the same result. While there wasn’t much that happened during the movie in terms of action, the gripping story shon through as it was well written, well acted and overall brilliantly executed. As I said it’s a story that isn’t widely known, to me at least, but is certainly a story that deserves greater recognition and the intensity levels that the film managed to keep was the real draw for me as I was hooked early on and not once did I lose interest in either the characters or the story. If I had to find something that bothered me in the movie it was the lack of chronology that the movie adhered to as we start halfway through the story only to have “3 years earlier” sprawled across the screen and for me I find that it cheapened the movie slightly as I would have preferred the movie to play out in chronological order without the need to jump forward and then back.
Overall, The Angel was a surprisingly wonderful movie that boasted some impressive performances from the lead cast members and the drama and thrilling nature of the story was great.