Omar, a Palestinian baker, routinely climbs over the separation wall in order to see his two best friends, Tarek and Amjad. He is a baker only by title, with his real job being a freedom fighter against the Israeli military who occupy the area. Omar has also fallen in love with Tarek's sister, Nadja, hoping one day to gather the courage to ask Tarek to allow them to wed. After the killing of an Israeli soldier, Omar is captured and tricked into confessing to the crime where he faces life imprisionment. In order to escape he agrees to become an informant, setting off a dangerous game, where Omar begins to play both sides of the conflict, leading to tragic results. Hany Abu-Assad's Omar is a tense, fast-paced thriller looking at one man's tough choices on the frontlines of a conflict that has shown no signs of letting up. While so many films about this conflict deal with major themes on a much larger scale, this film opts for a much more confined story of three childhood friends who are eventually torn apart by the world they live in. While I appreciate this simplicity, Omar never really has all that much to say from a thematic perspective, besides emphasizing the deceit that runs rampant in this setting. From the long-time friendships that Omar, Tarek, and Amjad share, to Omar's love for Nadja, this is a film that simply tells you about these important relationships rather than showing the view through actions. Personally I never found myself nearly as invested in the romance between Omar and Nadja, feeling that it needed more time to develop naturally. From a narrative perspective, Omar is lean and mean, filled with enough twists and turns to keep the audience engaged and uncertain of the outcome from start to finish. In the end, Hany Abu-Assad's Omar is an enjoyable little thriller but given the weight of the Israeli-Palestian conflict I wish it had a little more to say.
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