Zaytoun

"OK"

Zaytoun Review


Lively characters and resonant interaction make this film enjoyably watchable even though it's impossible to believe anything that happens. The problem is that the filmmakers are trying to explore a thorny situation using a heartwarming story, which makes every step of the way feel badly contrived. And for such a hot-potato topic, the script isn't nearly as subtle as it should be. But at least the cast is likeable.

It's set in 1982 Beirut, where war is raging with Israel. In a refugee camp, Palestinian teen Fahed (El Akal) refuses to obey the rules, skipping both school and military training to run around the bombed-out city with his friends. But the violence is getting closer to home, and when his father and best pal are killed, Fahed decides to travel back to his family home in Palestine to plant his late mother's potted olive tree. To do this, he teams up with downed Israeli pilot Yoni (Dorff), springing him from capture and heading out on a dangerous road trip south.

There are several obvious plot elements that create issues along the way. Fahed improbably refuses to go anywhere without the olive tree or his football (his friends call him Zico after the Brazilian player), while Yoni is trying to get home to his pregnant wife (cue his paternal instincts). So they bond as they face violent militias, scary checkpoints and unexpected minefields - both the literal and figurative ones. But since the script is so carefully constructed, nothing is a surprise, including their growing friendship and each danger they face along the way.

The film looks great, with a loose, energetic tone and an engaging sense of childish adventure that kind of undermines the threat of death and destruction in each situation. It's as if the filmmakers are trying to make everything more palatable for both young and foreign audiences while nudging viewers over to Israel's side of the ongoing conflict. As a result, neither Dorff nor El Akal are able to develop their character below the surface. At east El Akal is amusingly hyperactive; Dorff is so stony and serious that we never really warm to him. As this odd couple travels from one set-piece to another, we enjoy the attempt to portray the situation in a new way, but we still feel like we're being manipulated.

Rich Cline



Zaytoun

Facts and Figures

Genre: Action/Adventure

Run time: 110 mins

In Theaters: Friday 20th September 2013

Box Office USA: $42.3k

Distributed by: Strand Releasing

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 2.5 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 48%
Fresh: 16 Rotten: 17

IMDB: 6.6 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director: Eran Riklis

Producer: Frederick A. Ritzenberg, Gareth Unwin

Contactmusic


Links


Advertisement

New Movies

Star Wars: The Last Jedi Movie Review

Star Wars: The Last Jedi Movie Review

After the thunderous reception for J.J. Abrams' Episode VII: The Force Awakens two years ago,...

Daddy's Home 2 Movie Review

Daddy's Home 2 Movie Review

Like the 2015 original, this comedy plays merrily with cliches to tell a silly story...

The Man Who Invented Christmas Movie Review

The Man Who Invented Christmas Movie Review

There's a somewhat contrived jauntiness to this blending of fact and fiction that may leave...

Ferdinand Movie Review

Ferdinand Movie Review

This animated comedy adventure is based on the beloved children's book, which was published in...

Brigsby Bear Movie Review

Brigsby Bear Movie Review

Director Dave McCary makes a superb feature debut with this offbeat black comedy, which explores...

Battle of the Sexes Movie Review

Battle of the Sexes Movie Review

A dramatisation of the real-life clash between tennis icons Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs,...

Shot Caller Movie Review

Shot Caller Movie Review

There isn't much subtlety to this prison thriller, but it's edgy enough to hold the...

Advertisement
The Disaster Artist Movie Review

The Disaster Artist Movie Review

A hilariously outrageous story based on real events, this film recounts the making of the...

Stronger Movie Review

Stronger Movie Review

Based on a true story about the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing, this looks like one...

Only the Brave Movie Review

Only the Brave Movie Review

Based on a genuinely moving true story, this film undercuts the realism by pushing its...

Wonder Movie Review

Wonder Movie Review

This film may be based on RJ Palacio's fictional bestseller, but it approaches its story...

Happy End  Movie Review

Happy End Movie Review

Austrian auteur Michael Haneke isn't known for his light touch, but rather for hard-hitting, award-winning...

Patti Cake$ Movie Review

Patti Cake$ Movie Review

Seemingly from out of nowhere, this film generates perhaps the biggest smile of any movie...

The Limehouse Golem Movie Review

The Limehouse Golem Movie Review

A Victorian thriller with rather heavy echoes of Jack the Ripper, this film struggles to...

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.