The Nile Hilton Incident has a few pacing problems but is a stark reminder that justice isn’t easy.
Title: The Nile Hilton Incident
Director: Tarik Saleh
Summary: Set against the backdrop of the Egyptian Revolution, this thriller features a police officer who investigates the murder of a woman. What initially seems to be a killing of a prostitute turns into a more complicated case involving the very elite of Egypt.
A common storytelling technique is to set a fictional story against the backdrop of a real event. There is something to be said for learning of events that we don’t have a perspective on through storytelling, and as someone who lives in the Western world, the understanding of the events of the Egyptian Revolution are lost to me. The Nile Hilton Incident tells the fictional story of a murder mystery in the days leading up to the protests. The murder mystery itself is fairly by the books, but it is the way the film handles the various tropes of the genre that makes it interesting. It feels all too real in a way that is hard to watch at times.
It becomes apparent very early on that our protagonist isn’t really a good guy. Noredin (Fares Fares) is a police officer seeking justice, but he is also taking bribes and looking away from corruption. It’s the kind of thing that would lead people to rise up against the government. The movie makes sure to show the dates and the sense of rising tension, and as we know everything is about to fall apart, it adds to the tension of the movie overall. The way it continues to upend your expectations for where you think the plot is going is what keeps it interesting, despite the fact that the story overall is fairy typical. It’s the execution that makes it work so well.
It isn’t a perfect film. While it isn’t very long, the pacing of everything can make it feel longer than it actually is. It isn’t exactly poorly paced, but mystery movies aren’t always heart stopping action. A lot of the movie follows Noredine as he slowly puts the pieces together and decides that he isn’t going to walk away from this case. We also follow a witness named Salwa (Mari Malek) who is from Sudan. She gives the audience a look at the cultural tension between Egyptians and people from other countries. It becomes apparent that these two characters are making their ways toward each other but the conclusion to her story is dark.
The Nile Hilton Incident is a realistic mystery in the sense that sometimes the corrupt people don’t get punished, sometimes the innocent die and nothing is done and that good guys don’t really exist. It’s a captivating story with a hell of an ending.
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