Is "The Green Prince" this year's "Searching for Sugar Man"?

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by Anthony Kaufman
January 17, 2014 3:15 PM
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"The Green Prince," which premiered at Sundance on Friday night, is poised to become this year's "Searching for Sugar Man." While the film's subject, about a Palestinian son of a Hamas leader who became a spy for Israeli's Shin Bet security service, sounds closer to another 2012 documentary hit "The Gatekeepers," the new movie is far more humanistic than its political logline suggests.

In my review for Screen Daily, I wrote, "More than the docu-thriller it initially appears to be, with its pulse-pounding score by 'Waltz with Bashir' composer Max Richter and ominous aerial surveillance footage of Israel... it is a surprisingly moving story of a young man’s life-long struggle with shame, and the unlikely friendship he forged in his attempts to escape that burden."

I don't want to overpraise the film, because in some ways the reenactment-heavy style of the film feels a bit too familiar, but I do think "The Green Prince" could go the distance, going on to follow in the footsteps of previous movies by the same producers ("Searching for Sugar Man," "Man on Wire") that received Oscars.

Despite what it sounds like, "The Green Prince" is, in many ways, a crowd-pleaser, ending on a beautifully humanistic note that should prove extraordinarily satisfying for art-house audiences. I suspect a distribution announcement will come in hours, not days.

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