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New Release Review - THEEB

A young Bedouin boy accompanies his brother and a mysterious Englishman on a dangerous journey.


Review by Emily Craig

Directed by: Naji Abu Nowar

Starring: Jacir Eid Al-Hwietat, Hussein Salameh Al-Sweilhiyeen, Hassan Mutlag Al-Maraiyeh, Jack Fox




"Theeb is an incredibly moving adventure film, which is significantly relevant today. The direction is impeccable, and although having a simple plot, it will keep viewers engaged from start to finish."



Theeb (meaning 'wolf' in Arabic) is the directorial debut of English born Jordanian Naji Abu Nowar. His adventurous first film is set in WWI in the Ottoman Empire where a young Bedouin boy named Theeb (Jacir Eid Al-Hwietat) forces himself into a dangerous journey to accompany his brother (Hussein Salameh Al-Sweilhiyeen) and a mysterious Englishman (Jack Fox) to a secret location.
The start of the film shows us Bedouin life from Theeb’s perspective. Theeb’s brother, Hussein, attempts to show him the way of life, how to kill goats and shoot guns. Inevitably he decides Theeb is not ready for manhood yet; he’s not ready to shoot a loaded gun. There are a lot of shots of Theeb’s face in the film, which help the audience to interpret his reactions and always see his emotions. Theeb as a character is the epitome of childhood; his curiosity and questioning about everything really captures the innocence of childhood, the innocence of not knowing. The audience is purposely left out of some snippets of adult conversation, which is really effective because we get to feel the same frustrations Theeb feels.
The cast is mostly comprised of non-professional actors, who are actual residents from the Wadi Rum desert. Although you would not believe that these people have never acted before, you can definitely feel the authenticity; these people already know the way of Bedouin life and therefore the audience is getting a true representation. Jacir Eid Al-Hwietat really shines; despite being a non-professional actor he was terrific and I can see him getting some wonderful opportunities in the future.
Theeb has been continuously compared to Lawrence of Arabia and described as a somewhat homage to the 1962 classic. Although sharing the same beautiful locations, I feel it is only fair to see Theeb as its own film; it’s much more real than Lawrence.
We as an audience watch as Theeb accompanies the adults on the tiresome journey, only to be stopped in their travels by a bunch of unexpected turn of events. What’s even more unexpected is Theeb comes out as the strongest. The kind Bedouin hospitality helps him survive, and by the end of the film he becomes a lone wolf. He has achieved adulthood, but not in the way that was planned. Theeb is an incredibly moving adventure film, which is significantly relevant today. The direction is impeccable, and although having a simple plot, it will keep viewers engaged from start to finish.



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