By William Wolf

NEW YORK FILM FESTIVAL 2013--OMAR  Send This Review to a Friend

A garbled film that riffs off the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, “Omar” has been written and directed by Hany Abu-Assad. It mixes anti-Israeli efforts by Palestinian youths with Israeli efforts to penetrate the opposition. Although there is plenty of West Bank location atmosphere, the film stretches credibility in various ways as it examines loyalties and relationships under duress.

Adam Bakri plays Omar, a Palestinian who works as a baker and has a girlfriend named Nadja, played by Leem Lubany, sister of a pal from whom their infatuation is being kept secret. To see her Omar climbs repeatedly over the separation wall in the West Bank town. Meanwhile, he and his buddies perform terrorist attacks on the Israeli military, leading to an Israeli solder being killed and the Israelis hunting for the perpetrators.

When Omar is captured, he is pressed by the Israelis into becoming an informant. The situation becomes complicated, and various intrigues strain believability, whether one is looking at the situation from a Palestinian viewpoint or an Israeli one.

In a climactic moment we are asked to believe that Omar’s Israeli handler, played by Waleed F. Zuaiter, would behave in the completely stupid way that he does and in front of his military colleagues.

Given the plot twists, I can see both Palestinians and Israelis being discontented with the film. That is less the fault of the enduring conflict than of this convoluted, ultra-contrived movie. Posted December 1, 2013.


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