Omar Image
Metascore
75

Generally favorable reviews - based on 28 Critics What's this?

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7.2

Generally favorable reviews- based on 17 Ratings

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  • Starring: , , ,
  • Summary: A tense, gripping thriller about betrayal, suspected and real, in the Occupied Territories. Omar (Adam Bakri) is a Palestinian baker who routinely climbs over the separation wall to meet up with his girl Nadja (Leem Lubany). By night, he’s either a freedom fighter or a terrorist—you decide—ready to risk his life to strike at the Israeli military with his childhood friends Tarek (Eyad Hourani) and Amjad (Samer Bisharat). Arrested after the killing of an Israeli soldier and tricked into an admission of guilt by association, he agrees to work as an informant. So begins a dangerous game—is he playing his Israeli handler (Waleed F. Zuaiter) or will he really betray his cause? And who can he trust on either side? Palestinian filmmaker Hany Abu-Assad (Paradise Now) has made a dynamic, action-packed drama about the insoluable moral dilemmas and tough choices facing those on the frontlines of a conflict that shows no sign of letting up. [Adopt Films] Expand
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: 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.

See all 28 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 3 out of 5
  2. Negative: 1 out of 5
  1. Mar 22, 2014
    9
    "Omar" has one of the most believable performances I've ever seen on the big screen. The whole story is breathtaking, the cinematography, being able to catch with the hit and run scenes is terrific. Everything in this film is beautifully crafted, although it is not a perfect movie, it is near one, it is a charming love story, thus I highly recommend it. Expand
  2. 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. 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. Expand
  3. Mar 9, 2014
    7
    In a world according to Paradise Now director Hany Abu-Assad, death, murder and revolt is currently a right of passage to manhood and way of life in the West Bank. Hearts-pounding, sweat dripping, pulses racing; three friends and militants affiliated with the Aksa Martyrs Brigades find themselves organizing a sniper attack on an Israeli Military post that will find their friendships, loyalties and lives changed forever.

    Omar is the name of the film and is also the name of our main protagonist (Adam Bakri) one of the three friends whose sensitivity, loyalty, passion for life, and love of the cause are unflinching. Omar is a Palestinian living in the West Bank who, like most, are subjected to an intolerable amount of injustice and mistreatment as anyone else currently living in the West Bank from the Israeli Defence Force. The location of the West Bank, has just as much if not more to say itself than the film in question, but for the sake of the flow of this review, let’s not get into a discussion of history. Taut, riveting and desperate, Omar is a suspenseful film in constant pursuit of truth.

    Omar is a freedom fighter, led by his childhood friend and best buddy Tarek (Iyad Hoorani), and joined by their younger, marshmallowy and goofy friend Amjad (Samer Bisharat). The three friends plan out a violent and extremely dangerous mission to help the Palestinian cause. Although their efforts are valiant, essentially, they become killers. Omar tells a story of one man’s life in the grande scheme of things and in the on-going battle between Jews and Arabs for a Holy Land; a land who’s soil is drenched with the bloody memories of the lives once lived.

    Part high-tension chase film, part intricate prison/interrogation drama, Omar could easily be confused with a political-thriller that would and could be directed by Paul Greengrass (Captain Phillips); thanks to the film’s effortless ability to share many of the same idealistic political views of its people, its military, its innocent and its guilty. Throughout the film, it seems that Omar is the only one in the group getting hassled, arrested and tortured, until, he mistakenly confesses about the sniper shooting to the officer in charge of him Rami (Waleed Zuaiter). As a Palestinian freedom fighter, Omar is reminded over and over again that there is nothing worse than collaborating with Jews, not even death. After facing countless attacks within the prison, being accused of treason and as collaborating with Jews, Omar’s greatest challenge is to convince his peers, fellow patriots, the love of his life Nadia (Leem Lubany), as well as himself of the choices and actions he must make to clear his name and garner the trust that seems far from reach.

    As the plot of the film progresses, Omar, a once simple baker working outside the West Bank, daydreaming of a Honeymoon with his girlfriend and hopeful wife Nadia, becomes a conspirator of each person around him and their elaborate plans against the opposition. Omar climbs the wall the divides his worlds so that he may exchange simple love letters with Nadia and they try to plan their future together, a future that soon becomes thwarted by a Defense Force that will do anything to get Tarek, even if it means crumbling Omar’s world. The film quickly progresses to a spellbinding and exhausting flee of terror from authorities and so many questionable ideals which each side exhibits.

    Filmmaker Abu-Assad, who was born in Nazareth, and is no stranger to the dangers of life in the West Bank, uses Omar and his fine skills as a director to catch up and keep pace with the athletic, constantly in-pursuit protagonist. Beaten, bruised, bloodied and broken, Omar represents a proud and very real population of Arab people. Between discreet close-up panning shots, to questionable editing and pacing, the film seems almost documentary-esque. Thankfully, Abu-Assad handles the film gracefully and unbiased, presenting the very real terrors endured by either side.

    Omar then becomes a film that allows anyone, including audiences, to “believe the unbelievable”, even if the final ending feels forced, and completely unexpected. Perhaps, that’s the point though. Like any good hunter, the best way to lure one’s prey, is to entice them with the promise of nourishment (in our case knowledge) without consequence. Omar teases us with this, and then quickly rips it away, giving us only confusion and questions unanswered. Only few things remain once the screen fades to black, and one of them is the reality of the people living through hardship and the far-fetched promise of change. The other promise Omar leaves us with is the promise of the power of love–whether that love be the love of a woman, the love of family, the power and love of friendship or love of country, the choice is up to you.
    Expand
  4. Feb 23, 2014
    5
    This Oscar contending movie is a combination of a love story and a thriller with a good doze of anti-Israeli propaganda which, sadly, is typical for almost any Palestinian movie.
    Putting ideological message aside, I would say that the movie is directed and filmed very well, and acting (especially of the main character, Omar) is impressive. My biggest rant about this movie is its script. I cannot envision a good movie without a good script. The script here lacks depth, close to the end it becomes overly twisted and melodramatic.
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  5. Jun 25, 2014
    0
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. The glowing reviews of this film are verging on comically naive. It is blatantly violent anti-Israel propaganda which tries to justify the senseless premeditated killing of a couple of Israelis by Palestinian terrorists. At no point is the act of killing questioned. It is implicit that these assassins must escape punitive consequence for their crime. The ending is totally implausible, an Israeli captain would never hand a loaded handgun to a Palestinian terrorist who then shoots the captain with a Shwartzeneggerian catch phrase as if he is some kind of hero. How do we know this is propaganda without having a thorough grounding in the political situation in Israel? (Aside from the "hero" as murderer.) Establish this for yourselves. Consider the depiction of violence. Whenever a Palestinian kills someone (betrayals within the ranks, Israelis etc) it is presented indirectly offscreen, off camera, from a distance, implied with dialogue and so on. When violence occurs at the hands of the Israelis it is graphic and directly represented. Question the gaze of this movie. Oh, and as a movie? It is clunky and implausible. The acting is not very good, with the exceptions of the female romantic lead which is an highly divisive ploy to humanise the terrorist because he must be a hero if he has the love of a beautiful girl.. This film is interesting as a cultural artefact in pushing the limits of (im)morality. Would you make a film that humanises a death camp guard? Expand