Day Night Day Night



Suicide bomber drama doesn't offer easy answers.
  • Review Date: October 1, 2007
  • Rated: NR
  • Genre: Drama
  • Release Year: 2007
  • Running Time: 94 minutes

What parents need to know

Positive messages

The protagonist plans to be a suicide bomber in Times Square; her handlers are stoic and gruff; New Yorkers who see her fall down are friendly.


No visible violence, but the threat is pervasive, as the protagonist spends the entire movie preparing to explode a backpack bomb in Times Square. The film begins with the protagonist listing the many ways people can die.


Protagonist appears in shower (close ups of her body parts, but nothing explicit). A young man approaches the protagonist for a couple of minutes near the end, trying to arouse her interest by showing his abs.


Repeated uses of "s--t" near the end of the film.


Times Square advertising and T-shirts: Duane Reade, Swatch, Old Navy, Coca Cola, Gap, Starbucks, Planters peanuts, McDonald's, Ecko.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this intense film about a 19-year-old suicide bomber isn't for kids. The unnamed protagonist is convinced that blowing herself up with a backpack bomb in Times Square is the right thing to do, but since the movie doesn't go into her motivation or background, it's hard to know just what to think of her -- and that ambivalence could be hard for teens to process. There are several tense moments as she nears the end of her mission.

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What's the story?

DAY NIGHT DAY NIGHT follows a 19-year-old unnamed protagonist (Luisa Williams) as she prepares to carry a backpack into Times Square and blow herself up in a crowd. The character isn't placed in any context, she's simply picked up by a driver, fed a dinner of Chinese noodles, deposited in a motel room, and instructed not to open the curtain or show her face at the window. Almost painfully polite, the girl shows an intense focus on her task: She memorizes her new identity, practices pushing the detonator button, and repeats her instructions in careful monotone. The next morning, the leaders of the plot outfit her in a pale blue track jacket and suggest that she film a "martyr's video." Then they fill her yellow backpack with explosives and nails and send her on to Port Authority.

Is it any good?


The camera stays close on the girl's face throughout the film, but the focus becomes most intense when she's cast among the crowd on the sidewalk: Here, the noise of traffic, conversations, and even music from passing cars becomes almost overwhelming.

Viewers learn that she has a little brother and parents, but she remains isolated and waiflike -- even as her determination and ingenuity are combined with an appealing clumsiness and confusion. She's sure and not sure, transparent and unreadable. She's not demonized, but it's also hard to understand what she's doing. Quite brilliantly, the movie never explains her or makes her strange in order to ease viewers' mind. Rather, it makes you nervous both for and about her.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about how the movie handles its protagonist's plan. Why do you think the filmmakers chose not to include her motives, her background, or even where she's from? What messages does that send about both people's ability to identify terrorists and the reasons people have for committing these acts in the first place? What do you think of her? Why do you feel that way? Was it because of what you saw in the movie or because of ideas and feelings you had before?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:May 9, 2007
DVD release date:October 2, 2007
Cast:Gareth Saxe, Josh Phillip Weinstein, Louisa Williams
Director:Julia Loktev
Studio:IFC Entertainment
Run time:94 minutes
MPAA rating:NR
MPAA explanation:not rated

This review of Day Night Day Night was written by

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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