Ajami

"Excellent"

Ajami Review


A searing story of the collision of three religious communities in Israel, this provocative street-level drama feels thoroughly realistic, with vivid characters that cut through the fragmented story structure.

In the Ajami neighbourhood of Jaffa, Omar (Kabaha) is the target of a gang feud involving his uncle. While his pre-teen brother Nasri (Habash) watches, he gets himself deeper into trouble trying to find a solution, including a dangerous decision to sell drugs for pay-off money. Caught in this mess is Malek (Frege), a 16-year-old Palestinian who needs money for his mother's medical bills. But this creates serious trouble for Omar and Malek's Christian boss Anan (Kabob) and his father (Sahwani). Not to mention a Jewish cop (Naim) trying to stop the deal.

Filmmakers Copti and Shani capture the situation with striking realism, using offhanded performances and eerily authentic interaction between the various groups of people. When the film gets violent, it feels sudden and terrifying.

And the relationships are both emotionally raw and humorously lively. The film is structured in five chapters that attempt to twist the time-scale Pulp Fiction-style, fracturing the narrative and circling around to fill in details and revelations later. Sometimes this works, but it often leaves us wondering what's actually going on.

That said, the plot itself is the least of our concerns, as the filmmakers so adeptly capture the characters' overpowering sense of vulnerability. And that's what this film is really about. All of these communities rely on each other, even as they're threatened and try to keep each other at arm's length. And within the Muslim community, there is strong tension between clans, as witnessed in a revealing reconciliation session between two warring families.

The script cleverly includes strong interpersonal relationships that we can identify with, such as Omar's forbidden love for Anan's sister (Karim), the two brothers' desperation to protect each other and the cop's turbulent family life. As tit-for-tat revenge rears its ugly head, the film gets increasingly harsh and dark, and we realise that most people are using religion as an excuse to indulge in brutal "solutions" to their frustrations. But of course they're only fuelling a pointless cycle of violence.



Ajami

Facts and Figures

Genre: Foreign

Run time: 124 mins

In Theaters: Thursday 17th September 2009

Box Office USA: $0.6M

Distributed by: Kino International

Production compaines: Inosan

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 4 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 97%
Fresh: 64 Rotten: 2

IMDB: 7.3 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director: Scandar Copti, Yaron Shani

Producer: Moshe Danon, Thanassis Karathanos

Starring: Fouad Habash as Nasri, Nisrine Rihan as Ilham, Elias Saba as Shata, Youssef Sahwani as Abu-Lias, Abu George Shibli as Sido, Ibrahim Frege as Malek, Scandar Copti as Binj, Shahir Kabaha as Omar, Hilal Kabob as Anan, Ranin Karim as Hadir, Eran Naim as Dando Ben David, Sigal Harel as Dando's sister, Tamar Yerushalmi as Dando's mother, Moshe Yerushalmi as Dando's father

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Wind River Movie Review

Wind River Movie Review

After writing the superb Sicario and Hell or High Water, Taylor Sheridan moves back into...

The Vault Movie Review

The Vault Movie Review

Filmmakers Dan Bush and Conal Byrne attempt a mash-up of a frantic heist movie with...

Goon: Last of the Enforcers Movie Review

Goon: Last of the Enforcers Movie Review

The 2012 Canadian comedy Goon was one of those surprising little films that snuck up...

Detroit Movie Review

Detroit Movie Review

After The Hurt Locker and Zero Dark Thirty, Kathryn Bigelow and Mark Boal reteam to...

Logan Lucky Movie Review

Logan Lucky Movie Review

Good news: Steven Soderbergh's well-publicised retirement from directing only lasted about four years. He's back...

American Made Movie Review

American Made Movie Review

An enjoyably freewheeling tone and Tom Cruise's star wattage combine to make this an entertaining...

An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power Movie Review

An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power Movie Review

It's been a decade since Al Gore's wake-up-call documentary won the Oscar. And here he...

Advertisement
The Hitman's Bodyguard Movie Review

The Hitman's Bodyguard Movie Review

It really doesn't matter that this movie is utterly ridiculous, because the central pairing of...

Final Portrait Movie Review

Final Portrait Movie Review

A relaxed, amusing true story about noted Swiss painter and sculptor Alberto Giacometti, this sharply...

Tom of Finland Movie Review

Tom of Finland Movie Review

Finnish artist Tuoko Laaksonen used the name "Tom of Finland" as he drew explicit illustrations...

A Ghost Story Movie Review

A Ghost Story Movie Review

Filmmaker David Lowery reunites the stars from his offbeat Western Ain't Them Bodies Saints for...

Atomic Blonde Movie Review

Atomic Blonde Movie Review

From the co-director of John Wick, this similarly styled action romp puts Charlize Theron front...

Girls Trip Movie Review

Girls Trip Movie Review

This movie's premise basically sounds like The Hangover with added black girl power. But it's...

Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie Movie Review

Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie Movie Review

There's so much manic energy in this animated action comedy that it can't help but...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.