Critic Consensus: Led by an outstanding performance from Jacir Eid Al-Hwietat in the title role, Theeb is a startlingly assured first effort from director/co-writer Naji Abu Nowar.
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Critic Reviews for Theeb
An inversion of Lawrence of Arabia -- a film told from the perspective of Arab bedouins rather than colonial adventurers, a scrappy coming of age story rather than a grand tale of epic, colonial ambitions.
The effectiveness of the story hinges largely on Al-Hwietat, whose performance is both convincing wide-eyed and complex.
The burden rests on Eid's shoulders, and he more than carries it. He's a natural, showing us Theeb's curiosity, loyalty and ingenuity while still retaining the innocence of a boy who has been sheltered from the world outside the desert.
First-time director Naji Abu Nowar rehearsed his largely nonprofessional cast for almost a year before shooting began, and as the title character, Jacir Eid beautifully conveys a mix of emotions, from wonder to fear to determination.
The further this strikingly assured debut feature by the British-born director Naji Abu Nowar goes along, the more it seems a metaphor for fierce self-determination - an origin story for Middle Eastern discontents.
Audience Reviews for Theeb
A tense and powerful debut feature set against the breathtaking vastness of the Jordanian desert and with a deliberate pacing, an evocative score and assured performances by its non-professional Bedouins that are proof of Naji Abu Nowar's talent in directing actors.
This has its quotas of violence and sentiment, plus landscape shots, but it is nothing special. A film entirely about men, possibly for men, it gives the impression that women did not exist in this world. The boy's cuteness is too trite a device and he does not come of age as suggested in the blurb; rather he is a fortunate and plucky survivor throughout. Mostly well made, it is not though always logical, and is predictable. The camels are interesting.
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