In the opening scene we see Omar scaling the impossible high wall that the Occupying Forces have erected that not just separates Palestinians from Jews, but also Palestinians from each other. He is going to meet up with his best friends Tarak and Amjad to plan their first ever terrorist activity. Tarak mentions a Brigade Commander but it seems evidently when the three of them set out a few nights later, they are acting on their own accord. They succeed in their intentions of killing an Israeli soldier, but that puts them immediately on a Wanted list as there is no way that the authorities are going to let anyone get away with assassinating one of their own.
With great speed they track the three men down in the days that follow and manage to capture Omar, and its soon clear to them that there is a traitor in their midst who has betrayed them. Behind bars, Omar is subject to some very brutal and vicious torture that is carried out by his interrogators but even so he refuses to give in and name names. He is however later tricked by one of them dressed as another prisoner to make an incriminating statement that could get him a 90 year jail sentence if he ever went to Court. Instead he reluctantly agrees to act as a spy for the Israelis and he is freed from jail on the condition that he names and locate the actual gunman.
Whilst this has all been going on Omar has been conducting a secretive and totally pure courtship with Nadia who is Tarak’s younger sister. So far it has just consisted on stolen moments together and the frequent exchange of letters but the couple have declared their love for each other and now want to find the right moment to seek Tarak’s approval.
Meanwhile learning of the deal that Omar has been forced to agree too, Tarak decides that Omar should give the Israelis the information that they want and they will set up an ambush when they come and collect. It all goes horribly wrong and Omar is once again back in jail and beaten up not just by the Israeli authorities this time but also by the other inmates who believe that Omar had collaborated with the other side so that the ambush would fail. He pleads with his Captors to be let out one last time on the condition that he will not fail to bring them Tarak dead or alive.
Now on the outside again even Nadia accuses him of being the group’s traitor, but at the same time, it is obvious that she has secrets of her own to hide. As does Amjad too, and it looks like with the Israelis close on everyone’s trail, no-one will get out of this in tact.
This very taut and tense thriller that is part romance and also part melodrama humanises a very tough way of life in an Occupied country where really no-body is a winner. Omar, a baker by trade, is too emotional and sensitive to be the hard-bitten killer the other Palestinians want him to be. He would risk it all, including his life, for Nadia but his faith in her and the ’cause’ are so tested, it makes him re-think everything.
Omar is played by a relatively unknown actor Adam
Bakr in a stirring and moving performance. It helps too that the man is strikingly handsome and extremely fit as constantly trying to avoid the Police he seems to spend half the movie jumping from one roof top to another. The final scene stuns you into silence, and rounds out what is a rather wonderful gripping movie that was good enough to be nominated for a Best Foreign Picture Oscar.
Posted by queerguru at 21:23
Labels: 2013, drama, oscar nominated, Palestinian, political, terrorists, thriller