“The Nile Hilton Incident” by Tarik Saleh

This article is also available in: Italiano

“The Nile Hilton Incident” is a noire set in the Egyptian capital during January 2011, a few days before the Revolution. A film that shows us a quivering and toxic city, but seen from the eyes of Noredin a corrupt policeman with a case to solve.

The Nile Hilton Incident

Noredin Mustafa is a corrupt detective of the Cairo police. He is following the case of a singer found killed in a room at the Nile Hilton hotel, and soon discovers the woman’s secret relationship with the hotel owner, a wealthy businessman and member of parliament.

The Nile Hilton Incident
Salwa, the Sudanese waitress

While searching for the only witness, a Sudanese maid without a residence permit, Noredin is brutally ordered to dismiss the case. The detective, however, does not give up and the investigation leads to an elite of “untouchables” who run the country, immune to justice …


The film is a good example of how typical genres of so distant lands can also adapt to other parts of the world, highlighting their own peculiarities. In “The Nile Hilton Incident” the main character is perhaps silence, shown in all its vastness. One always has the feeling that the city has actually already solved the mystery, everyone knows but no one speaks. The Nile Hilton Incident

The only “hero” is an unlikely corrupt and toxic cop, the perfect man for such cases. The performance of actor Fares Fares is undoubtedly one of the most interesting reasons to see this film. The actor manages to immerse himself completely in the part, taking on that toxic and dirty air typical of the Cairo suburbs.

A toxic and fiery Egypt

The film takes place in January 2011, between the outbreak of the Tunisian and Egyptian revolts. The pre-riot atmosphere reigns throughout the film but as a background the director does a masterful job in still managing to focus attention on Noredin. This allows us to truly immerse ourselves in the political situation of that year, being able to count on the gaze of those who, in a certain sense, caused this revolt. The Nile Hilton Incident

The film in fact openly shows police shooting on the crowd, torture (even if never shown “in progress”) and corruption, allowing the viewer to understand the causes of the Arab Spring in Egypt. Made very well is also the silence of all those who have to do with Noredin in the film, always ready to lower their heads when they understand her role. We will not spoil the ending because it is also a surprise but we can anticipate that the message is heavy.

Highly recommended for lovers of noire and for those curious to learn more about the “Arab Spring”, the film we saw on Sky but it could also be on Netflix.

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