OMAR (unrated)

Omar (unrated)

 
 
 <span class="cutline_leadin">Young lovers:</span> Omar (Adam Bakri) is in a dangerous relationship with Nadia (Leem Lubany).
Young lovers: Omar (Adam Bakri) is in a dangerous relationship with Nadia (Leem Lubany).
ADOPT FILMS

Movie Info

Cast: Adam Bakri, Leem Lubany, Waleed F. Zuaiter, Samer Bisharat, Eyad Hourani.

Writer-director: Hany Abu-Assad.

Producers: Hany Abu-Assad, Waleed F. Zuaiter, David Gerson.

An Adopt Films release. Running time: 96 minutes. In Hebrew and Arabic with English subtitles. Vulgar language, nudity, violence, torture, adult themes. In Miami-Dade only: Coral Gables Art Cinema. Actors Adam Bakri and Leem Lubany will attend red-carpet screenings and participate in post-film Q&As after the 7 and 10 p.m. screenings Friday. For more information, visit www.gablescinema.com or call 786-472-2249.


rrodriguez@MiamiHerald.com

In the Oscar-nominated Omar, writer-director Hany Abu-Assad, who previously explored the phenomena of suicide bombers in Paradise Now, returns to the West Bank for another story about the heartbreaking toll of the Israel-Palestine conflict. The tall and handsome Omar (Adam Bakri) works as a baker and regularly climbs the separation wall, dodging bullets by Israeli guards, in order to hang out with his buddies Amjad (Samer Bisharat) and Tarek (Eyad Hourani) and secretly woo the latter’s sister Nadia (Leem Lubany), who is still in high school.

Omar also goes target shooting with his two friends, practicing with a sniper rifle for an unspecified act of rebellion they have hatched: Like so many young Palestinian men their age, they have grown up with romanticized visions of freedom fighters and resistance forces, and fighting back against the enemy, in however small a manner, is ingrained in them. Abu-Assad present the men’s thirst for payback for the Occupation as just another facet of their personalities. They’re a funny, warm and likable trio: They simply don’t think of killing an Israeli soldier for no reason as murder.

Eventually, they pull off their plan — Amjad pulls the trigger and smiles in victory when he hits his target — but their celebration is cut short when Israeli forces respond swiftly and brutally, and Omar is taken into custody, where he’s tortured and beaten but refuses to confess. So the Israeli agents come up with another idea.

The rest of Omar, which could have easily been a piece of manipulative agitprop, manages to remain apolitical even as the stakes rise and the motives of individual characters become blurred. Bakri is terrific at depicting Omar’s increasing weariness as his situation worsens, and he gradually starts to suspect everyone, even the friends he trusts most. His love for Nadia keeps him going — they have a habit of exchanging stories in small folded pieces of paper — and there is a genuine tenderness to their affair, which might have felt like a plot device in a lesser movie. Instead, it gives the film a warm emotional center.

Like most movies about the Middle East conflict, Omar is ultimately about the futility of violence and how it feeds on itself. Political motivations curdle into blind hatred; lies and betrayals destroy close relationships; and in the case of the happy, spirited Omar, rage threatens to consume him, potentially robbing him of his humanity. The message of the film’s shocking final shot could be interpreted in different ways, but there’s never a question Abu-Assad sees this story as, first and foremost, a great tragedy in which there are no winners.

Read more Reeling with Rene Rodriguez stories from the Miami Herald

  •  
 <span class="cutline_leadin">“Life After Death”:</span> Zach (Dane DeHaan) finds his girlfriend Beth (Aubrey Plaza) is behaving strangely after somehow coming back from the dead.

    Life After Beth (R)

    Life After Beth starts out as a cracked, comical take on Stephen King’s Pet Sematary. Zach (Dane DeHaan) is a young man mourning the death of his girlfriend Beth (Aubrey Plaza). At home, his parents patronize him and his older brother (a funny Matthew Gray Gubler) bullies him, so he starts spending time with the late girl’s family (John C. Reilly and Molly Shannon). Being with them make him feel closer to Beth, even though they seem to be acting fairly calmly in light of such a calamity.

  •  
 <span class="cutline_leadin">‘Magic in the Moonlight’:</span> Colin Firth is a stage magician trying to disprove the abilities of an acclaimed psychic (Emma Stone).

    Magic in the Moonlight (PG-13)

    The inherent problem in cranking out a movie (sometimes two!) every year, as Woody Allen has been doing for the last 34 years, is that some of them are inevitably going to be dogs. Does someone have a gun to the filmmaker’s head that forces him to proceed with half-baked, joyless comedies such as Magic in the Moonlight instead of tossing bad ideas out and starting fresh? This is, at best, a 20-minute TV episode extended to feature length, and the stretch marks show. Boy, do they show. That’s practically all you can see, really.

  •  
 <span class="cutline_leadin">‘Guardians of the Galaxy’:</span> Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista and Chris Pratt form an unlikely team of space-jockey superheroes.

    Guardians of the Galaxy (PG-13)

    Watching the zippy, ebullient Guardians of the Galaxy, you wonder “Why can’t all comic-book movies be this much fun?”

Miami Herald

Join the
Discussion

The Miami Herald is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere on the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

The Miami Herald uses Facebook's commenting system. You need to log in with a Facebook account in order to comment. If you have questions about commenting with your Facebook account, click here.

Have a news tip? You can send it anonymously. Click here to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Miami Herald and el Nuevo Herald.

Hide Comments

This affects comments on all stories.

Cancel OK

  • Marketplace

Today's Circulars

  • Quick Job Search

Enter Keyword(s) Enter City Select a State Select a Category