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.
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Knotty and tense for most of its running time, Omar becomes muddled in its closing minutes, conflating personal and political treachery.
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.
Bakri has charisma to burn, but the complexity of Abu-Assad’s previous movies is traded in for weak genre thrills.
Abu-Assad and his cinematographer Ehab Assal have every shot under control and rarely need to go overboard to convey a strong emotion.
Omar eventually becomes a sun-scorched neo-noir — and the fade-out is an unforgettable jolter.
Deliberately ambiguous in how it approaches the inexorable nexus of violence, Omar will trouble those looking for condemnation rather than the messiness of humanity.
The movie is so brisk, even-handed, and realpolitik you're never quite sure if it has anything to say.
Like most movies about the Middle East conflict, Omar is ultimately about the futility of violence and how it feeds on itself.
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.