Metascore
75

Generally favorable reviews - based on 28 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 23 out of 28
  2. Negative: 0 out of 28
  1. Reviewed by: Lucy Popescu
    May 30, 2014
    100
    This is political cinema at its best; intelligent, thought-provoking and utterly absorbing. Bakri is a star in the making and delivers an electrifying performance.
  2. Reviewed by: Eric Kohn
    Feb 20, 2014
    91
    Omar maintains an unsettling rhythm of suspense and sociopolitical critique throughout.
  3. Reviewed by: Marc Mohan
    Feb 20, 2014
    91
    A volatile film. But it's not a specifically political one. With only superficial alteration, it could be set in Cold War Berlin, or colonial Boston, or any time and place where the dynamics of power conspire to create an atmosphere of paranoia and mistrust.
  4. Reviewed by: Chris Nashawaty
    Feb 19, 2014
    91
    With the exception of Waleed F. Zuaiter, who does a remarkable good-cop act as an Israeli agent, the cast is composed of first-time actors who bring realism to a tragic story. It manages to punch you in the gut and break your heart at the same time.
  5. Reviewed by: Andrew O'Hehir
    Feb 20, 2014
    90
    If Alfred Hitchcock had grown up as a Palestinian, he might have made something like Hany Abu-Assad’s Oscar-nominated Omar, which is a tender love story, a haunting tragedy and an expertly crafted thriller with flawed, damaged and not entirely likable characters.
  6. Reviewed by: Sheila O'Malley
    Feb 21, 2014
    88
    Omar is a thriller and a romance, with unabashedly melodramatic elements (there's even a love triangle), all of which are brought into stark relief by the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
  7. Reviewed by: Tomas Hachard
    Jan 16, 2014
    88
    What Omar best portrays are the limitations that result from having an occupation, and the fight to overthrow it, dominate a person's entire life.
  8. Reviewed by: Bill Goodykoontz
    Feb 27, 2014
    80
    Abu-Assad does a masterful job of showing, in these seemingly hopeless circumstances, the fragility of life.
  9. Reviewed by: Bob Mondello
    Feb 21, 2014
    80
    It's the sort of film that feels so authentic that even knowing it's a fiction, the morning after seeing it, I found myself scanning headlines to see if there were any new developments.
  10. Reviewed by: Betsy Sharkey
    Feb 20, 2014
    80
    What happens when Omar is outside the prison walls, and how his world and his relationships are reshaped by the realities of broken trust and betrayal, make for gripping and heartbreaking watching.
  11. Reviewed by: Jay Weissberg
    Jan 16, 2014
    80
    Deliberately ambiguous in how it approaches the inexorable nexus of violence, Omar will trouble those looking for condemnation rather than the messiness of humanity.
  12. Reviewed by: Ty Burr
    Mar 13, 2014
    75
    The movie lands like a punch.
  13. Reviewed by: Peter Rainer
    Feb 28, 2014
    75
    The film works best as a straightforward melodrama set in an anything but straightforward world.
  14. Reviewed by: Liam Lacey
    Feb 27, 2014
    75
    Whether Omar will ultimately serve to change or harden hearts remains ambiguous, though it’s a movie that’s entertaining enough to appeal to the kinds of ordinary kids we see in the movie.
  15. Reviewed by: Mary Houlihan
    Feb 27, 2014
    75
    A cast of mostly first-time actors shade the film with a touching realism. Bakri offers a masterful performance, portraying Omar as kind and easygoing while also tamping down those traits in an atmosphere of suspicion and betrayal.
  16. Reviewed by: Steven Rea
    Feb 21, 2014
    75
    Bakri, a newcomer to acting, has presence and power. His intensity and determination become Omar's.
  17. Reviewed by: Gabe Toro
    Feb 20, 2014
    75
    This is easily more exciting and tense than any genre film 2014 has seen thus far.
  18. Reviewed by: Rene Rodriguez
    Feb 20, 2014
    75
    Like most movies about the Middle East conflict, Omar is ultimately about the futility of violence and how it feeds on itself.
  19. Reviewed by: Farran Smith Nehme
    Feb 19, 2014
    75
    Omar eventually becomes a sun-scorched neo-noir — and the fade-out is an unforgettable jolter.
  20. Reviewed by: A.O. Scott
    Feb 20, 2014
    70
    Mr. Abu-Assad shows a world from which all trust has vanished, where every relationship carries the possibility — perhaps the inevitability — of betrayal and where every form of honor is corroded by lies.
  21. Reviewed by: Jordan Hoffman
    Feb 20, 2014
    70
    Given that this is a film about a very specific political situation, with lifetimes of scholarship and signifiers behind it, writer-director Hany Abu-Assad made a bold decision in pulling back and going broad.
  22. Reviewed by: Deborah Young
    Jan 16, 2014
    70
    Abu-Assad and his cinematographer Ehab Assal have every shot under control and rarely need to go overboard to convey a strong emotion.
  23. Reviewed by: Ann Hornaday
    Feb 20, 2014
    63
    Omar feels as trapped and enmeshed in hopelessness as the vicious political cycle it depicts.
  24. Reviewed by: Joe Neumaier
    Feb 20, 2014
    60
    The movie grips us partly because Bakri’s performance is alternately casual and calculated.
  25. Reviewed by: David Fear
    Feb 18, 2014
    60
    Bakri has charisma to burn, but the complexity of Abu-Assad’s previous movies is traded in for weak genre thrills.
  26. Reviewed by: Michael Atkinson
    Jan 16, 2014
    60
    The movie is so brisk, even-handed, and realpolitik you're never quite sure if it has anything to say.
  27. Reviewed by: Ben Kenigsberg
    Feb 19, 2014
    58
    Knotty and tense for most of its running time, Omar becomes muddled in its closing minutes, conflating personal and political treachery.
  28. Reviewed by: Walter Addiego
    Feb 20, 2014
    50
    the movie comes perilously close to implicitly justifying the killing that sparked the plot - a killing, by the way, that is close to senseless.
User Score
7.5

Generally favorable reviews- based on 23 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 5 out of 7
  2. Negative: 1 out of 7
  1. Feb 22, 2014
    9
    One of my favorite films of this young year. The young actors are excellent, and the actor who plays the Israeli officer/agent is terrific.One of my favorite films of this young year. The young actors are excellent, and the actor who plays the Israeli officer/agent is terrific. The story pulses with action and romantic intrigue. I found it a touch confusing at the outset exactly which side of the wall Omar is on at a given time, and I felt I was playing catch-up a bit, but as the story of this group of friends develops, things become clear. The suspense is maintained until the credits roll. It's great to be able to turn to quality foreign films like this one during the first quarter of the year when Hollywood typically churns out its modest slate. Full Review »
  2. Dec 2, 2014
    8
    A wrenching Palestinian drama worthy of that Oscar nomination it was lauded this January. The titular character of Omar is treated in such aA wrenching Palestinian drama worthy of that Oscar nomination it was lauded this January. The titular character of Omar is treated in such a tragic way, I dare viewers not to sympathize with him throughout. The film revolves around a trio of friends who stage an assassination of a soldier. An ensuing fallout results in one of them, Omar, getting captured and tortured, forced to work with the government. Already the stage is set for morally grey exploration of terrorist brotherhoods. The characters are treated so humanely that it is easy to overlook their violent acts through a lens of absolute empathy. Eventually, Omar is left to make several hard decisions in order to keep his life from spiraling out of control. The events escalate to a situation-lockout that leaves you with a feeling of utter hopelessness. This plotting is complex, yet it's design and moral conflict is inherently quite simple. Each betrayal or plot twist is underscored with an understanding of the motivation behind each character, leaving no one an outright villain and the hero ultimately a martyr. The performances from everyone involved are decent, but the lead, Adam-I-forget-his-last-name-at-the-moment, deserves particular praise for creating a balance of stoicism and cool reserve. There are a few moments of humor as well to prevent the drama from reaching flat-out bleak territory, even though most of the attempts are just that. The elements with Omar and his girlfriend become repetitive early on and I cared least about her storyline, though it is vital to the story. Aside from an ending that feels bizarrely jarring and unsatisfying, literally only in the final seconds, the whole ride propels forward at a steady pace and never loses track of the human element at hand. Probably the most tragic lead character of the year, I almost cried I felt so bad for him. Full Review »
  3. Oct 4, 2014
    10
    Political thriller at its best. Edge of your seat suspense and you are in for a rollar coaster ride of intrique, double crossing, and sadnessPolitical thriller at its best. Edge of your seat suspense and you are in for a rollar coaster ride of intrique, double crossing, and sadness of the Palestinian territory occupied by Israel. Full Review »