Skip to main content
Advertising

Originally published Thursday, February 27, 2014 at 3:05 PM

  • Share:
             
  • Comments (3)
  • Print

‘Omar’: A wall of betrayal divides Palestinian rebels

A three-star movie review of “Omar,” Hany Abu-Assad’s second foreign-language film to enter the Oscar race. This one also focuses on Palestinian rebels.


Special to The Seattle Times

Movie Review 3 stars

‘Omar,’ with Adam Bakri, Leem Lubany, Eyad Hourani, Samer Bisharat. Written and directed by Hany Abu-Assad. 98 minutes. Not rated; for mature audiences (contains violence, profanity, torture scenes). In Arabic and Hebrew, with English subtitles. Sundance Cinemas.

Most Popular Comments
Hide / Show comments
So more misuse of the cause of innocent Palestinians to further anti-Semitic beliefs... MORE
What about Palestinian leaders recognizing Israel and accepting the US-brokered... MORE
Read Madeleine Albright's book, Madam Secretary, for the history. MORE

advertising

Hany Abu-Assad’s powerful 2005 drama about suicide bombers, “Paradise Now,” became the first Palestinian movie to be nominated for an Academy Award for best foreign-language film.

His new film, “Omar,” is the second to enter the Oscar race in that category. It, too, focuses on Palestinian rebels who may be freedom fighters. Or terrorists. Or, in the case of “Omar,” childhood friends who use the separation wall in the Occupied Territories to act out climbing games and challenge authority.

The tone at first is surprisingly playful. The wall becomes something to outwit: an almost abstract challenge that will not be ignored. But sometimes the act of climbing it leaves painful-looking rope burns, and occasionally people betray each other or face lethal consequences when they use the wall.

The title character is a Palestinian baker (Adam Bakri) who scrambles over it to visit his girl, Nadja (Leem Lubany), the sister of longtime friend Tarek (Eyad Hourani). When an Israeli soldier is shot and killed, Omar is arrested and tricked into becoming a collaborator.

As another friend, Amjad (Samer Bisharat), becomes involved, the Israelis spare no torture devices. The contrast between the beauty of the gifted young actors and the gruesome nature of their treatment could not be more pronounced.

In the case of “Omar” and “Paradise Now,” Abu-Assad has created a convincingly noirish hell that feeds on distrust and vengeance.

The blunt ending of “Omar” may come as a shocker, but it also feels inevitable.

John Hartl: johnhartl@yahoo.com



News where, when and how you want it

Email Icon

Enter to win!

Enter to win!

Share a photo of your holiday lights display and you may win a $100 Home Depot gift card.

Advertising

Partner Video

Advertising


Advertising
The Seattle Times

The door is closed, but it's not locked.

Take a minute to subscribe and continue to enjoy The Seattle Times for as little as 99 cents a week.

Subscription options ►

Already a subscriber?

We've got good news for you. Unlimited seattletimes.com content access is included with most subscriptions.

Subscriber login ►