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The Terrorist review

In an unnamed Indian country (but probably Sri Lanka) a young soldier named Malli (Ayesha Dharkar) is selected for a suicide mission: she's to strap plastic explosive to herself and blow up a VIP. Hiding out in a rural farmhouse until the day of the killing, she finds memories of days past and the presence of the vaguely batty farmer (Parmeshwaran) preying on her mind...

Sly and witty, Santosh Sivan's tale of internal struggle bravely ducks cheap answers. Neither vilifying or idolising either side in a guerrilla war, his film's mix of brutality and tenderness instead hints at the insanity of valuing continued death more highly than continued life.

Using huge close-ups of faces, Sivan draws a fantastically subtle performance from Dharkar. Acting with glances and flickers of emotion, she provides a subtle, intelligent drama with a moving human core.

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