Andrew’s review published on Letterboxd:
A documentary about the revolutionaries that are bring change to the Egyptian government.
This film opens with a sequence that is powerful enough to close most other political documentary's. Egypt was under the rule of a tyrannical dictator for the past 30 years. So finally people organized and took to the streets. They filled the town square of the title of the film, and would not leave until the dictator stepped down. Seeing people unite for a just cause is an emotional trigger for me, and seeing these people stand up for themselves moved me deeply. Keep in mind, this is in the first 10 minutes of the movie.
The bad news is that the dictator is replaced by his military leaders, and they prove to be just as sadistic and corrupt.
Egypt is a nation of strong opposing religious factions. Perhaps the largest, most organized, and devout are the Islamic Brotherhood. This film tells how the Brotherhood made secret deals with the military in order to put themselves in a favorable position for the upcoming election. The people in the streets, still protesting, were given a choice on the ballad between the same military leader, or a religiously controlled leader. It was a rock and a hard place.
The Islamic Brotherhood won the election, but as you can imagine, the corruption continued, now only the decisions were being made by a religious / political figure.
So again, people take to the streets to protest.
The film is unique in that it follows well intentioned people from nearly every side of the affair. It doesn't place people in waring factions. It deals with real people with real human emotions and optimistic attitudes. The people in the film all want the same thing, they just have different ideas of how to accomplish it. The villains are the ones fighting and hurting and killing others. The movie focuses on the people who want peace and liberty and the right to decide their own futures.
The film does run out of steam a bit in the late 2nd act and early 3rd, as it shows people in the streets with little action or reform. The film is gruesome in places, but I feel like it is earned and not egregious or manipulative or exploitative.
The film ends at a strange place, where I wasn't expecting. It was a bit anti climatic. I guess in a fictional film you could write the Hollywood ending, and in real life you have to take what you can get.