DVD Review: God’s Slave

GodsSlaveDVDSTUDIO: Film Movement | DIRECTOR: Joel Novoa Schneider | CAST: Mohammed Alkhaldi, Vando Villamil, Daniela Alvarado, Devorah Lynne Dishington
RELEASE DATE: 5/5/15 | PRICE: DVD $24.95
BONUSES: making-of featurette, interviews, short film by Joel Novoa Schneider
SPECS: NR | 90 min. | Foreign language thriller | 1.85:1 widescreen | 5.1 Surround | Spanish with English subtitles

RATINGS (out of 5 dishes): Movie  | Audio | Video  | Overall

In 1994, Iranian-backed terrorists bombed a Jewish community center in Buenos Aires. For political reasons, the crime was never prosecuted until a change in government. Earlier this year, however, prosecutor Albert Nisman was found dead under mysterious circumstances. The Venezuelan thriller God’s Slave, director Joel Novoa Schneider’s first feature, recounts the events of the original attack.

gods-slave1_optAhmed is a young boy during the Lebanese civil war who sees his father murdered for being an Israeli sympathizer. David is an Israeli boy who witnesses his brother’s death during a terrorist bombing. Years later, Ahmed, now “Javier” (Mohammed Alkhaldi) is a Jihadi mole working as a doctor in Venezuela. He gets “the call” to go to Argentina for his mission to Allah. There, he is pursued by an Israeli intel officer who is, in fact, David (Vanda Villamil). The destinies of these two damaged characters play out on the streets of Bueno Aires in this compelling and timely procedural.

Schneider films his story with subdued colors in gritty, docu-drama style. This is complemented by the actors who give powerful, tightly controlled performances. He is undermined, however, by budgetary concerns. Scenes of violence and mayhem are depicted from a distance; and an absence of crowds deprives us of the feel of a crowded city.

Checkpoint, a 24-minute short film by Schneider is also included in the package. It’s a taut morality tale about an Israeli soldier who befriends a Palestinian father and son.

Schneider is a gutsy director tackling complex and dangerous subjects with a humane and unsentimental approach.

God’s Slave, the winner of a handful of Latin film awards at such festivals as the Gramado Film Festival and the Lleida Latin-American Film Festival, is currently available on digital platforms including iTunes and Amazon Instant.


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About David

David Leopold is an actor, writer and videographer who would take a Sherpa ride up a Tibetan mountain to see an Edwige Feuillère movie.