Love And Hate: Our Review of ‘An Eye For An Eye’

Posted in Movies, Theatrical by - November 11, 2016
Love And Hate: Our Review of ‘An Eye For An Eye’

Hate is a powerful emotion.  The effects of hate are often easy to see and difficult to forget.  From the emaciated bodies of the holocaust to the smouldering towers of 9/11 to the unspeakable violence of the ISIS execution videos, the images of hate are horrifying, traumatic and leave an indelible imprint.  Hate is where An Eye for an Eye begins its story.

Director Ilan Ziv’s documentary follows Mark Stroman, a self described white supremacist and American patriot who, in a rage fuelled by the terror attacks of September 11th, set about seeking revenge on Muslims and in the process killed two men and gravely injured the third.  Stroman was tried, convicted and sentenced to death for his crimes.  After a lifetime of poverty, abuse and trouble with the law he faced his impending execution with hopelessness, sadness and regret for the hate which ruined his life.

It is here where his story takes a turn because Rais Bhuiyan, Stroman’s surviving victim, had an idea.  What if, he asked the families of the other victims, we looked to the tenants of our Muslim faith and approached Mark Stroman with forgiveness and love instead of vengeance and hate.  With this in mind Rais began a campaign not only to forgive Stroman but also to save his life.  And he was not alone.  As more and more individuals reached out to him, Stroman found himself surrounded by those he had been taught his whole life to hate and these people were offering love, acceptance and forgiveness.

The compassion shown by Bhuiyan is inspiring and moving but it also illuminates an issue that is rarely acknowledged or talked about – the fact that at its heart the Muslim faith is based on love.  Faced with the reality that everything he believed about Muslims was wrong, that a person’s goodness or badness is not a product of their religion or race, Mark found, even in the worst of circumstances, a peace that he had never known.  A peace the film suggests that we can all achieve if we simply embrace love instead of hate.

An Eye for an Eye is a compelling film with an equally compelling message.  It reminds us that as powerful as hate is, love is just as powerful.  It reminds us that hate only serves to tear us apart while only love can bring us together.  And if we work together, learn from each other and seek to understand and accept our differences love can trump hate.  And in light of current events it is a message that we need now more than ever.

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Galadriel fell in love with the movies when she was taken to see Superman at the age of three. Legend has it she watched the whole thing standing up with her jaw on the floor. She went on to see Superman four more times in the theatre and developed a lifelong passion for film. Galadriel earned a Bachelor of Arts in Cinema Studies from the University of Toronto which she parlayed into a ten year stint at Blockbuster Video and more recently a career in nursing. But some things never change – she still loves movies and counts Gone with the Wind, Amadeus, The Shawshank Redemption, La Dolce Vita and the films of Michelangelo Antonioni among her favourites. She is also obsessed with the Oscars and knows more about them than any one person should. Galadriel currently lives in Toronto with her husband and young daughter who is soon to see her very first movie in the theatre.