Ajami (2010) - Rotten Tomatoes

Ajami (2010)

TOMATOMETER

AUDIENCE SCORE

Critic Consensus: This multi-character drama balances intimate portrayals and broad political implications to paint a bracing and moving portrait of the Middle East conflict.

Ajami Videos

Ajami Photos

Movie Info

Palestinian Scandar Copti and Israeli Yaron Shani collaborated on this independent drama, which examines how the troubled relationship between their countries colors everyday life in the Middle East. Nasri (Fouad Habash) is a teenager whose family is in crisis: his uncle got into an altercation with a local crime boss, and in reprisal, his cousin has been murdered. The shooters, it seems, originally intended to kill Nasri's younger brother, Omar (Shahir Kabaha), in lieu of the cousin. Abu Elias (Youssef Sahwani), a restaurateur and respected member of the community, steps in to negotiate. Omar agrees to make a cash payment to the gangsters to prevent further violence, but since he doesn't have the money, he raises it by dealing drugs. Abu has a daughter, Hadir (Ranin Karim), who works at his restaurant; she's fallen in love with Omar, but since she's Christian and he's Muslim, they can't acknowledge their feelings in public. Also working at the restaurant is Malek (Ibrahim Frege), a 16-year-old illegal immigrant who is looking for any kind of job to help pay for his mother's medical treatments. And elsewhere, Dando (Eran Naim) is a policeman drawn into the chaotic life of Binj (Scandar Copti), a suspected drug dealer who has been arrested for attacking a Jewish neighbor; Dando is also preoccupied with the fate of his brother, who has suddenly gone missing. Ajami won a special distinction award at the 2009 Cannes Film Festival. ~ Mark Deming, Rovi
Rating:
NR
Genre:
Art House & International , Drama
Directed By:
Written By:
In Theaters:
 wide
On DVD:
Box Office:
$500,000.00
Runtime:
Studio:

Watch it now

Cast

Youssef Sahwani
as Abu Elias
Ranin Karim
as Hadir
Eran Naim
as Dando
Elias Sabah
as Shata
Ghassan Ashkar
as Nasri's Uncle
Sigal Harel
as Dando's sister
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for Ajami

Critic Reviews for Ajami

All Critics (66) | Top Critics (23)

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.

Full Review… | June 16, 2010
Time Out
Top Critic

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.

Full Review… | May 28, 2010
Globe and Mail
Top Critic

Any given half-hour of the film has dramatic impact; at two hours, it's a power punch to the gut.

Full Review… | May 6, 2010
Minneapolis Star Tribune
Top Critic

The fact that these two Israelis from opposite camps worked together to make this movie is as important as the movie itself.

Full Review… | April 29, 2010
Film.com
Top Critic

A compelling drama about prejudice and folly.

April 22, 2010
Seattle Times
Top Critic

It's an admirably even-handed portrait of life in an occupied ghetto that is bounded by checkpoints. Everyone we meet is a more or less honorably motivated victim of circumstance.

April 22, 2010
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Ajami

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.

Carlos Magalhães
Carlos Magalhães

Super Reviewer

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.

Jim Hunter
Jim Hunter

Super Reviewer

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.

Cynthia S.
Cynthia S.

Super Reviewer

Ajami Quotes

There are no approved quotes yet for this movie.

Discussion Forum

Discuss Ajami on our Movie forum!

News & Features