TORN

By Jeremiah BIRNBAUM

PATHFINDER FILMS LTD. - as SALES All rights, World

Drama - Completed 2013

An unexpected bond forms between two women whose sons are killed in an explosion at a shopping mall. When the police find evidence of a bomb, one son, a Muslim American, becomes the prime suspect, threatening the new friendship and forcing them to question how well they knew their own children.

    • Year of production
    • 2013
    • Genres
    • Drama
    • Countries
    • USA
    • Languages
    • ENGLISH
    • Duration
    • 81 mn
    • Director(s)
    • Jeremiah BIRNBAUM
    • Writer(s)
    • Michael RICHTER
    • Synopsis
    • In the wake of a public tragedy that kills their sons and derails their lives, two women struggle to find their emotional footing.
      At first, the deadly food court explosion at a local mall is attributed to a gas leak. Maryam (Mahnoor Baloch) and Lea (Dendrie Taylor) barely notice one another in the chaos as they collide at the police barricade while searching for their boys. When the authorities call them in for repeated questioning, the women bond in their grief and begin a friendship – despite the fact that their backgrounds are worlds apart.
      The two women’s emotional needs are identical. For a time, they are each other’s lifeline, meeting nearly every day, either to visit the blast site, which has become a fenced in monument of tributes and flowers or the misty cemetery where Maryam’s son lies buried. Lea cannot yet bear to part with her son’s ashes – and instead places them under his old bed.
      Renewed questions from the lead detective in the case (John Heard) are irritating and puzzling – until an FBI agent (Sharon Washington) reveals that a bomb triggered the explosion.
      Maryam’s son is suddenly the prime suspect, primarily because of his Pakistani roots.
      Even though they are both longtime citizens of the U.S., Americanized and prosperous, Maryam and her husband, Ali (Faran Tahir), are subjected to racial profiling and are unfairly interrogated. The investigation becomes public and Maryam and Ali’s house is vandalized, making them feel hated in their own neighborhood. Ali sees that little has changed since he was subjected to a wrongful arrest years before in the paranoia of post 9/11. He urges her to
      consider leaving America and returning to Karachi.
      Just as forcefully, tables turn. The police and the FBI confront Lea with discoveries they’ve made about her son – that he made deadly threats in the heat of quarreling with school bullies, that he posted a web video of an angry diatribe. These could be read as just innocent postures of a teenager who is no more angry or aggressive than the next one – indeed no angrier than Maryam’s son, dealing with the same kinds of bullies, challenges, and peer pressures. Such ambiguities once again plunge both women into identical grief.
      As both women struggle to keep their lives together, troublesome facts emerge.
      Maryam is surprised that her son may have been introduced to an Islamic extremist. Lea meets one of the boys who bullied her son, who is convinced her son is responsible for the bombing.
      Both women are forced to consider the impossible.
      Set in our contemporary world where prejudice and doubt lie just beneath the surface, TORN takes audience members on a powerful and suspenseful journey filled with dramatic intensity and insight.
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