Possibly the first movie to ever show the other side of terrorism, Little Terrors tells the story of American boy Samih (Armaan Kabli), who is recruited by terrorists in Delhi to bomb a U.S. embassy. Once his time comes, though, Samih is sent to a Muslim house where the man harbouring him tries to talk him out of it.
The film follows Samih as he is brought to the terrorist camp along with three other recruits, and how they’re taught that their mission is an honourable one. Aside from Samih, one other child recruit is brainwashed into believing that his death will earn him a spot in paradise and that he is doing the right thing.
Directed by award-winning director Maninder Chana, Little Terrors does not shy away from showing audiences the horrific reality of terrorism and the brainwashing of young recruits. One of the more disturbing scenes shows the four boys being fitted for their vests, and the youngest member is too small to fit into his vest properly. Chana does an incredible job of not relying on the violence of terrorism to reveal its true horrors.
Little Terrors’ use of children is not the only thing that makes it stand out from other films with a similar plot. Films that focus on the act of terrorism don’t usually show audiences the other side of things. Movies like Argo, Air Force One, and Die Hard don’t often accurately depict both sides, instead portraying the “terrorist country” as nothing more than that. Despite all the positive reviews of Argo after its release, the film was also called out on its portrayal of Iran. Radio personality and famed Canadian writer Jian Ghomeshi, of Iranian descent, called Argo a “deeply troubling portrayal of the Iranian people” and pointed out, “Virtually no one in the mainstream media has called out [the] unbalanced depiction of an entire ethnic group, and the broader implications of the portrait.”
Little Terrors does not portray an entire race of people and their country as the enemy. Because of the inclusion of the Muslim family Samih stays with, audiences are shown an entirely different side of the country and its people.
Little Terrors is an incredibly eye-opening film about the world of terrorism, the recruitment of children, and how a country can be and is distinct from its horrors. It’s a great piece of cinema and definitely worth watching… twice. MMMM