To watch Incendiary is to be disappointed by the failure of its huge ambitions. Here is a well-made film featuring good actors and which tells an intimate story, but which tries to do too much and collapses under the weight of its own aspirations. I do not object to the story itself; the problem is that the filmmakers take the story down three different directions when it should have only gone down one.

The film tries to simultaneously be a quiet personal story of guilt and grief and a muted cautionary thriller of government selfishness and compromise. But the mystery and intrigue only serve to distract from the central story and blunt its emotional impact. There is a way to convincingly and engagingly tell both sides of this story: by putting them in different movies with different styles and objectives.

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