In the Name of the Son (2007)
Director: Harun Mehmedinovic.
Starring: Sergej Trifunovic (Tarik), Jack Dimich (Pavle), Elvedin Slipac (Milan), Ingrid Walters (Ayanna).
a Serbian father snaps and shoots his own son for having fought alongside the Muslims of Bosnia
Spoiler Warning: below is a summary of the entire film. The F word spelled out.
Flashback. Bosnia 1994. Two men lay on the ground on their stomachs with their hands tied behind them. A man stands over them. One of the fellows, Milan, tells the other fellow, named Tarik: "They'll kill us."
Back to the present. Tarik is living now in Los Angeles. He is a chauffeur. His passenger asks him where is he from? Bosnia. The passenger says: "God bless your country, man!" Tarik tells the passenger: "Thank you so much, sir." But then the passenger spoils it all by saying: "Yeah, I made a lot of money over there."
Tarik has a black girlfriend. They hug and kiss.
Tarik sleeps with his girlfriend. There is a knock on the apartment door and Tarik goes to see who it is. Tarik is shocked when he opens the door. It is a man from his not too pleasant past. Tarik has a flashback to when the fellow was harassing him. Each of the two men stays quiet. The visitor walks into the living room, and sits down. Tarik gets him a drink and then asks the man what does he want? He wants Tarik to shoot him.
Flashback. "They'll kill us." Tarik says that it won't be Milan who will die because he's one of them, a Christian. "Just show them your dick." Both men laugh. One of the soldiers guarding the men on the ground now fires his automatic weapon near the heads of the captives. The major sees and hears this and goes over to the offender and grabs his weapon from him, saying: "Is this an army or a gang?" The lieutenant asks what are they to do with the prisoners? The major looks at each face, picking up the men's heads off the ground to get a good look. He has the soldiers pick Milan up and has his hands untied. The major asks: "Where is the cross I gave you?" It turns out that the major is Milan's father. He asks Milan why is he with the Bosnians? No response from Milan.
Dad tells him to: "Go home, boy!" Milan says he can't go without his friend Tarik. This makes the major mad. He shoves a pistol into his son's hand and indicates that he wants Milan to shoot Tarik in the head, saying that Milan could shoot at his soldiers, but not his friend. He pulls the son away a short distance and shoots him in the head. Then he comes over to Tarik who has a cross on and tells him to go home.
Back to the present. And now Tarik is looking at the major sitting in his apartment. The major pulls out a pistol and places it on the coffee table. Tarik says he hopes the major lives a long time. While pointing the pistol at Tarik, the major says they are going for a ride.
In the limousine, Tarik asks why didn't the major shoot him there in the forest?
Flashback. Milan jumps behind a rock to get away from the enemy firing. Tariks asks him why is it that Milan never gets even injured, while he, Tarik, always gets wounded? At present Tarik has a very bloody right hand.
Back to the present. Tarik shakes off the flashback, but now his nose is bleeding. The men go into a public restroom and Tarik cleans the blood from his face and nose and from his hands. He touches the cross around his neck. This is the cross Milan gave him to keep Tarik as safe as Milan has been.
Flashback. Milan is thinking about his wife Amra. He says his father would kill him if he knew that his son married a Muslim girl.
Back to the present. Tarik asks the major: "How is your grandson?" Yes, Milan had a son. "That's why he was with me in the army. To protect his son . . .from you, you idiot. Your son protected his son and you killed yours. That's the whole truth, my Pavle. That's the whole truth." The major puts the pistol to Tarik's throat. He tells Tarik to give him the car keys. He stops along a winding road by the coast and tells Tarik to get out. They both get out of the car. The major tells him to start walking. They walk away from the road until the major tells Tarik to stop.
Tarik tells the major to go ahead and shoot him. "That shouldn't be so hard for you." The major gives the pistol to Tarik. It's the major who wants to die. Tarik puts it close to the major's head, but then he just drops the pistol. The major picks it up, gives it back to Tarik and screams at Tarik that he is a fucking coward. Tarik hits the major over the head with the pistol. He then daydreams that he shoots the major in the head.
Tarik and the major are back at Tarik's apartment. They both have a drink. Tarik puts the soccer game on, as he is a big enthusiast. Brazil and Germany are playing. The major asks what's his grandson's name? Mohammed. The major adds: "God bless him." And then Tarik tells the major the grandson's real name: Pavle.
That was short and sweet. Around 25 minutes or so. But the film has the nastiness of the regular films about Bosnia and Serbia. It also is drenched in blood. In the altered reality created by war, a Serbian father snaps and shoots his own son for having fought alongside the Muslims of Bosnia. Will the man regret his actions when the war is finally over? Or will he remain with a heart of stone? What kind of penance should he have to do for taking his own son's life?
Patrick Louis Cooney, Ph. D.
See Harrison's Flowers (2000).
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