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The Nile Hilton Incident (A Movie Review)

Updated: Mar 17, 2020

The Nile Hilton Incident


Starring Fares Fares, Mari Malek, Yaser Maher, Ahmed Seleem, Hania Amar, Hichem Yacoubi, Mohamed Yousry, Ger Duany, Rebecca Simonsson, Emad Ghoneim and Mohamed Bekoury.

Screenplay by Tarik Saleh.

Directed by Tarik Saleh.

Distributed by Strand Releasing. 107 minutes. Not Rated.

Blackmail, bribery, sex, and murder, set amongst the back drop of a nation’s revolt, The Nile Hotel Incident gives us a thrilling illustration of the magnitude of police and political corruption that led to the real-world Egyptian Revolution on January 25, 2011. Director Tarik Saleh shows us Egypt at its rawest moment, painting a dark and enthralling story.

The film is centered on a lonely, hard-working police officer, Noredin (played by Fares Fares). Noredin unwaveringly investigates the murder of a woman at the Nile Hotel on January 11, 2011. The crime was witnessed by a lone, impoverished, Sudanese housekeeper, Salwa (played by Mari Malek). Salwa is able to identify a connection between the dead woman and a Parliament member, Hatem Shafiq (played by Ahmed Saleem).

Noredin is the nephew of the head officer for the precinct – Kammal Mustafa (played by Yaser Maher).  This gives him a position of status, as well as a blind trust in Kammal, a man motivated only by money. Noredin is corrupt, but we quickly realize no more corrupt than everyone else in the police and government at the time. We watch money stolen from dead bodies and bribes quickly changing hands for freedom and answers at every corner.

In spite of the corruption, we are introduced to a man trying to get to the bottom of a crime that he sees being swept under the rug due to political connections.  He finds a slip of paper – a photo processing receipt – while in the dead woman’s room. He follows the lead. As the story plays on, we find that these photos are at the center of a blackmail ring seeking to involve people of power in the community.

When he confronts Shafiq at his expensive home, Shafiq admits to loving the dead woman and asks for Noredin’s assistance. Again, this leads to further evidence of political and police corruption when Noredin is given a surprise promotion by Kammal. Lucky for us, Noredin’s character wins out, and although he accepts the promotion, he also continues to pursue the investigation.

Egypt was heated and on edge in 2011. Through its characters, The Nile Hilton Incident shows us the disparity of life in this tense time. We are shown refugee living conditions through Salwa’s storyline contrasted with the privileged life of elite Shafiq. The setting is bleak, harsh and human.

Overall, The Nile Hilton Incident is a thrilling, well-developed, entertaining film that opens a doorway to a world on the brink of revolution after years of unbridled corruption. It is a cautionary tale that we should heed or risk repeating.

Bonnie Paul

Copyright ©2017 All rights reserved. Posted: September 8, 2017.

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