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This multi-character drama balances intimate portrayals and broad political implications to paint a bracing and moving portrait of the Middle East conflict.
All Critics (68)
| Top Critics (24)
| Fresh (66)
| Rotten (2)
| DVD (1)
What comes through is that the troubles besetting Muslims and Jews and their emotional responses are similar in nature. The people involved have so much in common.
The pattern of connections and coincidences is a little overschematic, but the movie has energy, especially in the grippingly real shooting scene at the beginning.
This is vividly challenging, utterly inclusive and heartfelt cinema. It's not only gripping to watch, but it'll open your eyes to the intractable human conundrums behind the blood-stained headlines.
The performances are searingly intense, all delivered by non-professionals cast to type and extemporizing within the parameters of the script. They take the play out of acting, and the effect is unvarnished realism.
The fact that these two Israelis from opposite camps worked together to make this movie is as important as the movie itself.
A compelling drama about prejudice and folly.
Ajami is not pretty and it's not heart-warming - the threat of violence is always looming - but it is emotionally gripping, and it puts you right in its midst.
It's a dark, unsparing vision, yet what makes watching bearable, even pleasurable, is Copti and Shani's humane intelligence.
Its sense of ambiance, most apparent during scenes of simple conversation between characters, more than compensates for the cinematic overdetermination.
Una contundente ópera prima, narrada en forma fragmentaria a la manera de Amores Perros o Crash, que retrata con brutal honestidad la vida en un conflictivo vecindario de Jaffa. Estupendo elenco de actores no profesionales.
Gripping modern-day drama about crime and tensions among the Israeli Jews and Israeli Arabs.
... acutely insightful about the social divisions within Israel, but it examines them without scolding or sentimentality.
Ajami is a brutal, gripping and honest look at the endless violence that has been devastating the Middle East - a complex mosaic drama set in a neighborhood where Jews, Muslims and Christians clash against each other in intense hatred and desire for revenge.
Directed by a Palestinian and an Israeli, this film tells the stories of several men in Israel/Palestine who struggle in the midst of colonization and ethnic hatred.
It wasn't until over an hour into the film that I finally figured out what was going on. The directors use an Tarantino-esque style of fractured narration and points of view, and though it may have been my fault - I might have been slow on the uptake - the story-telling was not as crisp as Tarantino, who is able to introduce all his characters in a short period of time without letting plot lines dangle too long.
That said, once Ajami revealed itself, I found it remarkably compelling. Every moment rang with verisimilitude, and it felt like I was watching real people's lives unfold in a tragic, star-crossed land.
Compared to other genuine films about Israel/Palestine, like Laila's Birthday, Ajami is much darker, almost hopeless. Its message is a desperate condemnation of the hatred and violence that suffuse everyday life in the directors' homelands.
Overall, I think now that you know you can trust the directors' storytelling - that you know that it all makes sense by the end - you might be able to enjoy the hell out of this important film.
It took a bit of time to figure out the disjointed non-linear plotting with this film. The detailed flashbacks, with increasingly more details, was likely the whole point of the movie. Every time more details were filled in, and more information was available, the assumptions about the motives and actions of the characters became more understandable. By the very end, it all came together in a most shocking way. Well done.
Okay, I think I'm in the twilight zone but, then again, I'm pretty sure I'm not.
It's not just that this is an interesting movie with some agile narrative manipulation along the lines of Pulp Fiction and Rashomon. That's a definite plus. You know you're watching a decent movie when time flies and you don't even bother to check the counter on your DVD player.
And if that isn't mind-blowing enough, none of them saw the script or knew the story throughout the filming of the movie. They were simply put into scenes, told what was basically going on in those scenes, and then they ad-libbed all the dialog. All the dialog. Every single word!
You have to see this not just because it's a decent story and well made, but especially because these are just average Joes and Janes from the neighborhood improvising a two-hour movie.
I repeat: mind-blowing!
And I hardly ever view the extras, as I've said in the past. A quick survey of "the critics" leads me to believe that not a whole lot of folks know -- or maybe even care -- about this phenomenon. And it is phenomenal, don't you think?
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