Shoot on Sight Humanizes and Oversimplifies the Muslim Experience


Named for the London police’s secretive “Operation Kratos” anti-terrorist tactics, which led to the wrongful killing of Brazilian national Jean Charles de Menezes just after the July 7, 2005, tube bombings, director Jag Mundhra’s suspense(-less) drama oversimplifies the controversy by fictionalizing the victim into an innocent Muslim citizen. In a political move calculated by his Scotland Yard boss (Brian Cox), a Pakistani-born police commander (Naseeruddin Shah) with Greta Scacchi for a wife is put onto the murder investigation to placate the media, but when a routine call uncovers a real terror attack, our hero discovers the “unlikely” culprit to be exactly who we suspected in half that time. As if only made for ignoramuses who get nervous around brown skin, nearly everything on-screen is condescendingly telegraphed—from its plodding dialogue jammed with black-or-white morals to its lingering reaction shots, one-dimensional racists and radicals, obvious mood music, and thriller clichés (the easily recognized surveillance-vid detail, the easily guessed computer password, the mano a mano showdown in public). “Is it a crime to be a Muslim?” asks the poster’s tagline; if you really need that answered, have I got a crude network-TV event of a movie for you.

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