Two idealistic former comrades who survived Lebanon’s civil war take revenge on those who wronged them in “Khalass.” Vet Lebanese helmer Borhane Alaouie’s first feature in more than a decade wants to be a high-minded cri de coeur but plays more like an overwrought soap opera, with acting, dialogue and production values to match. Currently showing on one screen in Beirut after its Dubai fest world preem, pic is unlikely to travel outside the region.
Hulking Ahmad (Fadi Abi Khalil) is a former leftist militiaman recently canned from a journalism job. His best buddy, Robby (Raymond Hosni), is a documaker so alienated from politics he films only children and cats. Ahmad’s obsession with killing the former communist party chief, whom he blames for the deaths of many of his friends, drives his lover (Natasha Achkar) to leave him for a rich businessman/gangster. When a street kid whom Robby is filming is killed in a hit-and-run accident, Robby and Ahmad become a two-man death squad, brazenly dispensing rough justice. In what some observers regarded as a politically motivated decision, pic took Dubai gongs for screenplay and editing.