Coming to theatres today, Friday, July 13:
PATH OF BLOOD
UK theatres (July 2018)
An inside look at al Qaeda terrorists and their campaign against Saudi Arabia in the early 2000s.
A companion to the director’s book of the same name and produced by ZERO DARK THIRTY’s Mark Boal, Hacker’s film is composed entirely of jihadist recordings and Saudi security services footage, chronicling several years of terrorist cell activity directed against perceived enemies of Islam within Saudi Arabia. Opening with seemingly familiar, home movie footage of a jihadist announcing his latest plot, it’s revealed instead to be several outtakes that demonstrate the youth, immaturity, and lack of education of the terrorists, even as they record a message before a suicide bomb attack. From there, this unusual project, disturbing both for showing the brutality of al Qaeda’s actions and for somehow humanizing the people behind their horrific attacks, catalogues a range of jihadist activities within Saudi Arabia, and the Saudis’ response to curb the threat. It’s a chillingly effective way to convey the terrorists’ perspective, not to sympathize with them, but to gain insight into the misguided motivations that have led them to turn to violence not only against the expected non-Muslim targets, but against those Saudi Muslims they view as aiding the US. At the same time, the film sits on uneasy ground, strangely avoiding explicit reference to 9/11 and championing Saudi forces without acknowledging or contextualizing that nation’s role in propagating extremist ideologies that have fed into jihad across the Middle East.