xXx: Return of Xander Cage
The last forty minutes of the movie do come together in a pretty diverting way.
The separation wall runs through occupied Palestine, intimidating and omnipresent, covered with snarky graffiti, reminiscent of the Berlin Wall in its final days. A striking image of the wall opens Hany Abu-Assad's Oscar-nominated film "Omar", Abu-Assad's first Palestinian feature since "Paradise Now" in 2005. Omar (Adam Bakri) is seen grappling up a dangling rope, scaling the sheer face of the wall, before scrambling over to drop down to the other side. The wall will be used again and again in "Omar", first to show Omar's training as a revolutionary (once he gets out of practice, it becomes a huge struggle to make it up that wall), and also to symbolize the ways that the wall separates Palestinians not only from Israelis but also from one another. The wall makes things like love, loyalty, connection and intimacy impossible.
"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. Helped along by an amazing cast of mostly first-time actors, "Omar" feels very fresh due to its attitude, approach, and the fact that it offers no solutions. It's the story of three childhood friends caught up in a war that seemingly has no end. They are torn between their individual desires to have a home, a girlfriend, a family, and their devotion to the freedom of Palestine. In such an atmosphere, their best qualities will be used against them; their love for one another makes them vulnerable to betrayal.
Omar is played by Adam Bakri, a new actor with barely any credits. He is open, accessible, handsome, and incredibly physical; the film requires him to run, leap and tightrope-walk his way along high walls. Omar is a baker, who spends his free time training for an upcoming operation against the Israelis with his two childhood friends, Tarek (Eyad Hourani) and Amjad (Samer Bisharat). They appear to be working independently of any established group. Later, when Omar is in prison, one of the other prisoners says to him, by way of introduction, "I'm with Hamas. What group are you with?" Being part of a group gives you protection and legitimacy, but Omar is more of a street kid, doing target practice in the woods with his two pals. Their plan is to kill an Israeli soldier in a nearby garrison, an act both reckless and meaningless. But they feel powerless, and the daily humiliations they endure, including random stop-and-searches, have taken their toll. They feel the need to do something to participate in the fight.
Amjad is the one who pulls the trigger, killing a random Israeli soldier. Omar is chased through the streets the following day and finally arrested and brought to prison. Into the film strolls Agent Rami (the fantastic Waleed F. Zuaiter), who had posed as an Arab prisoner at first, striking up a gentle conversation with Omar in the prison cafeteria, in which Omar says the fateful words, "I will never confess." This, of course, is seen as a confession, and Omar is strung up naked in a pitch-black interrogation room and tortured. He is finally offered a deal by Agent Rami: They will release Omar on the condition that Omar will hand them Tarek. Omar is devastated and panicked, and yet hopeful that he can work both sides.