14A, 98 minutes
Adam Bakri, Leem Lubany, Iyad Hoorani
Palestinian director Hany Abu-Assad received his first Oscar nod for 2005’s “Paradise Now,” a tense drama that chronicled the last days of two suicide bombers. He now has a second foreign language nomination for “Omar,” an involving film in which he stacks the reality of Israeli occupation alongside everyday life in the West Bank.
Adam Bakri plays Omar, a baker by trade, who in order to visit his friends must scale the Israeli-built security wall that divides Palestinian towns. Also on the opposite side of the wall is the girl he loves, Nadia (Leem Lubany), who he hopes to marry and take on a Parisian honeymoon.
But on the West Bank, love and loyalty have a variety of meanings. Omar is part of a threesome, along with Nadia’s brother, Tarek (Eyad Hourani), and another friend, Amjad (Samer Bisharat), who are training on their own for an action against the Israelis. After Amjad shoots a border guard, the three are chased through the streets but only Omar is caught. He is tortured and interrogated until finally an Israeli agent (Waleed Zuaiter) offers him a deal: Omar will be released but he has to betray his friends in return for his freedom.
Mary Houlihan, Chicago Sun-Times