First Look Review: Clash

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80%
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Gripping

A fictionalised story set within real life events, Clash will keep you on the edge of your seat and knock you back with an emotional punch.

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Mohammad Diab is a director known for his work on films concerning social issues within Egypt. His latest project, Clash, continues this trend. The film follows the fallout following President Mohammed Morsi and his regime being toppled from power in 2013. With a nation divided between those supporting the Muslim Brotherhood, and those who are pro-military, conflict is rife around Egypt, with various protests and demonstrations resulting in violence and chaos across the nation.

The films takes place entirely inside the confines of an 8 metre military truck, which is driving around Egypt, encountering various angry mobs and protesters, continuously resulting in violence. Starting with two reporters being arrested, the truck gradually fills with people, some of which support the Muslim Brotherhood, some who are pro-military and others who are just looking for safety from all the mayhem. The film explores the interactions between all those locked within the truck, with opposing factions finding themselves in the same predicament, they must decide whether their conflicting ideologies are too much of an obstacle to overcome, in order to band together to escape their dangerous confine.

It’s always interesting when a director looks to make a film which does not comply to a conventional narrative structure, whilst Clash is by no means the first film to take place in a singular setting, it is still enough of an underused idea to still be deemed intriguing. However, a film of this nature, arguably, has to be even more engrossing than the average movie, due to the fact it cannot rely on any real form of visual spectacle, instead it boils down to the substance of the narrative and the performances of the actors involved. Overall, Clash, is a gripping combination of an emotional drama and a tense thriller, and whilst it does have its problems, it is a success.

The film starts off strongly, immediately the viewer is plunged into tense action and this continues up until the point where all of the characters have been arrested and placed inside the van. After a while the tension begins to fade for a period with some moments which are seemingly added just to fill time, which don’t appear to bare any real importance or relevance to the film’s aim as a whole. However, when Clash reaches its final act, that is where the film truly begins to shine. The messages of the film become very apparent and are delivered to great effect, right up to the brilliantly, heart-wrenching climax.

The whole cast is exceptional, with no clear lead actor, it allowed for each of the individual cast members to play their role in an significant way. The director effectively divides up the films running time to allow for each individual to have their moment, and in doing so it allows for the viewer to gain a seemingly genuine sense of how a whole range of people from different backgrounds were affected by the terrible events.

Clash was made for a purpose, and whilst it is gripping viewing, it is also important to remember that this was reality for people during the turbulent times in Egypt. The director has made a film which highlights the futility of conflict amongst people who ultimately want the same thing, people who are able to see past issues which appear unimportant when put into context by certain situations. Clash has its flaws, but on the whole, it is a gripping ride which will hopefully not only entertain, but also enlighten and educate.

Clash (2017), directed by Mohammed Diab, is distributed in the UK by Arrow Film Distributors. Certificate 15.

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