(directed by Hany Abu-Assad, 2013)
**** (out of 5)
> Omar is a strapping Palestinian youth who finds himself living on the wrong side of Israel’s monstrous dividing wall- separated from his beloved.
. Running the guantlet of sniper fire and vicious boarder patrols, he routinely takes his life into his hands to scale the formidable barrier to see his heart’s desire. Their young love is beautiful, as is all young love, and here the film finds its heart. But a complicated situation gets even more intractable when he finds his love is pregnant with his best friend’s baby. Worse, he gets himself involved in armed resistance to the occupation, participating in the murder of random Israeli soldiers by sniper fire (terrorism by any name), and Mossad is onto him.
. The secret police detain Omar, interrogate him, manipulate, intimidate, threaten and brutalize him in an attempt to get him to collaborate and inform against his friends. Caught in a vice between warring parties, there are only two possible choices and both have potentially deadly ramifications. What will Omar do?
. This is one really fine film that shows a perspective on the Mideast conflict that we rarely see in the west. Omar is an accomplice to murder, but we understand the intolerable conditions that led him to this desperate act. The young actor playing Omar (Adam Bakri) is so very good, it becomes impossible not to sympathize with the character, if not this choice of the violent path. This is taut, tough, truly heartbreaking stuff, as it ought to be. OMAR pulls no punches and delivers a body blow to the viewer. It is dynamite filmmaking.
> And the decision that Omar comes to in the end? Absolutely devastating!
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