Eyes of a Thief (2014) Poster

User Reviews

Review this title
9 Reviews
Sort by:
Filter by Rating:
Based on true story, a feel-good movie
samabc-3195218 August 2021
A father's hope to find his daughter who was separated during the Palestinian uprising, based on a true story, set in West Bank..mostly a feel-good movie, nothing exceptional.. interesting fact - Palestinian bride applies henna on her wedding day and the groom rides a horse to venue and guests lead the way, dancing.. (Baraat) .. this was a Palestinian's official entry to academy awards.
3 out of 3 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
No simple "boy meets girl" in Occupied Palestine
Red-12528 September 2017
Eyes of a Thief (2014) is a Palestinian film written and directed by Najwa Najjar. Kal Naga is played by the Egyptian star Khaled Abol Naga. Kal, a water engineer, has spent ten years in an Israeli prison. He returns home to find that his wife is dead, and his daughter is missing.

With bitter determination, Kal tracks his daughter to her most likely location, and believes he has found her under the care of a woman named Lila (Souad Massi). His daughter is a tough, no-nonsense young woman. She is portrayed brilliantly by Malak Ermileh. The acting of all three leads was excellent.

What we all want is for Kal to marry Lila and live happily ever after with his daughter and his new wife. This isn't Hollywood, this is Occupied Palestine, which isn't a place where a happy ending is guaranteed from the start. The plot has twists and turns that we don't expect. You'll have to see the movie to find out what they are.

We saw the film at the excellent Little Theatre in Rochester, NY. It was shown as part of the wonderful Witness Palestine Rochester Film Festival. After the movie, there was Q&A with Khaled Abol Naga via Skype. Naga is perfectly fluent in English, and his remarks were very helpful. Even though he's not Palestinian, he understands and sympathizes with the Palestinian people. Every woman I spoke to admired his looks--comments ranged from "drop-dead gorgeous" to "impossibly handsome." The good news is that he can also really act.

This film will work well on the small screen. Watch it on DVD or BluRay if you can't see it in a theater. The movie has a modest IMDb rating of 6.9. It's much better than that.
4 out of 9 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
An Excellent movie for sure
samijayousi6 January 2016
In this well written and directed excellent movie, Najwa Najjar avoids to a certain extent the temptation to get involved in the typical political debate between Israel and its foes as the drama centers around a man (starring the famous Egyptian actor Khaled Abu Naga), whose one life target after spending long years in prison becomes nothing other than finding his missing daughter. As the story does not forget to include a sweet and innocent touch of romance, this excellent piece of art which depicts the day by day life under the longest military occupation in modern history, also tackles many issues that Palestinians face as they try to move on with their lives under military occupation, be it the shortage of water supplies that the Israelis control, the need for jobs, or the existence of collaborators among them as well as underground resistance fighters, let alone a fact that many westerners seem to miss, that the Palestinian people are Moslems and Christians !!. Anyone who watches "Eyes of a Thief", will not only learn a thing or two about life in the occupied Palestinian territories, but will definitely find himself enjoying a very good movie.
6 out of 10 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
A realistic depiction of life in occupied Palestine
karamehhawash6 January 2016
I went to see this film with low expectations and I was very pleasantly surprised. The casting of the main male character was excellent. He was a man of few words but his emotional state was easily understood. The children in the films were brilliant. The story kept me on my toes and I was surprised few times by its twist. The combination of Israeli soldiers harassments and the water theft are themes that were well picked as few of the ways Israel controls lives of Palestinians. The love story was not well developed but that is also symbolic of how Palestinian society has been stunted due to many decades of oppressive occupation. Editing, casting and dialogue were well executed. Overall I strongly recommend this film as a thriller and as a window to a reality that is unknown to many.
6 out of 11 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Najwa Najjar works = amazing
aaal19947 December 2013
I'm sure it's going to be a great film as Najwa Najjar is the director i think she is from Nablus we saw her previous film "pomegranates and myrrh" and for this film she's working with "Abo El Nijja" hes a great actor I'm sure it's going to be a great film Wish to see it in Amman cinemas or Cairo cinemas. As the Palestinians film deserve more than the got i mean a lot of films won Oscar, can , academy and much more awards as they are such a great films but on the Arab TV , channels or cinemas we can't see them. I think you should work more for the support from Arabic channels Best of luck Najwa, and best of luck to all Palestinian directors and actors.
7 out of 16 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Phenomenal and gripping
I_Ailurophile21 August 2021
The horror, brutality, and sickening abhorrence of criminal occupation, revealed in the resulting human drama: this is a quiet film about a man looking for his daughter amidst the forced destitution and impossible demands of Israeli domination over Palestine. Occasionally punctuated by tense moments of interrogation and jarring flashes of violence, the movie is mostly intent on imparting a definite narrative, yet also emphatically communicates the condition of Palestinean society under occupation. 'Eyes of a thief' is deeply engrossing.

The bulk of the active plot is not unfamiliar - interpersonal drama that's at turns heartwarming, awkward, frustrating, and heartbreaking. Other movies have told similar stories, but that doesn't inherently reduce the value of 'Eyes of a thief.' It's executed quite well here, with fine writing and camerawork from filmmaker Najwa Najjar that effectively conveys and captures every beat of story and emotion, no matter how great or small. For whatever we are plainly shown, much more is penned or depicted with a subtle hand that leaves it to the viewer to pick up the traces. Furthermore, Najjar has written characters with depth and complexity, and enough laxity as to allow her actors to inhabit the roles as they will.

The cast is up to the challenge. Star Khaled Abol Naga, as Tarek, carries a ponderous weight on his shoulders, tired yet determined. Co-star Souad Massi, as Leila, harbors an enormity of world-weariness only slightly less than Naga; hers is but a supporting role, yet she is still rather prominent, and handles the part well. Even young Malak Ermileh, featuring as the character of the same name, echoes the skills of her elders, including still other supporting figures. There's a dexterity and nuance in every performance that's transfixing; these characters are believable, sympathetic, and very real - nevermind that the movie is based on a true story.

Costume design, makeup, lighting, sound, and every other technical consideration is outstanding. The original score of Tamer Karawan ably lends to and maintains the mood throughout the picture, while specific songs included in the soundtrack - especially those from co-star Massi - are infectious in their own right. And it's very noteworthy that 'Eyes of a thief' was filmed in Palestine, completing the authenticity of the narrative.

And that setting is the detail that sets this movie apart. The story of the characters plays out in a time and place robbed of land, resources, wealth, identity, and youth. The occupation breaks families, restricts mobility literal and figurative, cuts power, steals water, corrupts public figures, and necessarily bloodies the hands of people trying to protect what remains of their home. One could strip away these aspects from the plot and have the bones of a feature, yet the glimpses of occupied Palestine are so essential to the real heart of 'Eyes of a thief' as to be that component that makes it whole. These aspects are only flourishes for much of the runtime, flavoring for the narrative or flashbacks to cement the background - yet in the last 20 or so minutes, the two halves of the picture become one, with profound gravity and emotional weight.

'Eyes of a thief' was selected as Palestine's entry for Best International Feature at the Academy Awards held in February 2015. I admit I've not had the opportunity to view the films that were nominated, yet having watched this, I find it hard to believe that its rejection wasn't purely out of dishonest Hollywood politics.

This is a heartfelt drama with consummating details that makes it ever more impactful. For the nature of the setting and conflict at hand, it may be a difficult watch for some viewers - yet that same quality makes it absolutely essential. 'Eyes of the thief' isn't just fantastic storytelling, but also substantively communicative of a dire message. In every film-making consideration it excels and deserves to be seen by a much wider audience. Bravo!
1 out of 3 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Released from Israeli jail, Christian Palestinian seeks lost daughter and new life.
maurice_yacowar7 January 2015
Warning: Spoilers
Sad to say, Eyes of a Thief is not a very accomplished film. The performances are uneven, with the worst the male lead who doesn't act so much as pose prettily. The plot is shallow and predictable. There is no layering of significance, nothing beyond the basic melodrama. We know immediately that the spirited Malak is the hero's long lost daughter, that he will win her foster mother and that the older man who wants to marry her will be exposed as a villain. Villainy, of course, is collaboration with the Israelis in their theft of the Palestinians' water.

The latter argument is, of course, a well-disproven calumny, not that that matters in the Palestinians' propaganda campaign against Israel's very existence. Along with: "All we want to do is plant our potatoes."

But the film's most serious lie is the total omission of any references to Islam or its aberrant terrorist extreme. Instead the hero is a Christian, indeed the heroic sniper who offed 11 Israeli soldiers at a checkpoint in 2002.

There are two problems here. One is why the villain thinks that information would demonize the Christian marksman among the Palestinians. The guy would be a hero. Two, Israel is the only guarantor of Christian freedom and life in the whole Middle East. Everywhere else Muslims are slaughtering Christians and conversions to Christianity and attacking their churches. As a historic film is as much about the time it's made as the time it's set (see Aristotle's distinction between mere History and the more meaningful Fiction), this misrepresentation of the religious dynamic invalidates the film entirely.

In comparison with Israel's Gett, the Mauritanian Timbuktu and the Iranian Today (see my separate blogs) Eyes of a Thief is simply third-rate. It does the Palestinians no good in perpetuating their present painful impasse.
4 out of 17 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
What a waste time!
kamella-lakkis22 October 2021
Warning: Spoilers
Even though I love Khaled Abo lnaja acting, I felt his skills are lost between many unskilled actors first of them Soad Massi, which didn't give a soul to her character.. The story itself is very silly, you go into prison and once got out after a very little search you find a job with accommodation and your lost daughter walk directly to you!

I didn't have the chance to empathy with Tarek or to understand Lila and who she is.. And how Nour became Malak and it was his choice to leave her again!!

What a waste of talents, money and time..

I sat to watch a Palestinian story.. Ended up watching and Egyptian and Algerian actors not able to pronounce all the word in the correct accent and the story ended before even the middle.
1 out of 2 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Plot is Muddled; it Could Have Been Better
albertval-6956018 January 2022
It's supposed to be the story of a father's search for his daughter who was adopted when he was taken prisoner in the siege of 2002 during the 2nd Intifada.

Tarek Khodor (Khaled Abol Naga) starts to do this until he travels to Nablus in the West Bank to look for his daughter. This quest is sidelined when he takes on the job of water engineer. While this development somehow enriches the plotline, it nonetheless veers away from the story's chief thrust without being able to resolve the main plot convincingly. The viewer is unsure whether Tarek recognizes Malak as his long lost daughter as events take precedence in his mind. For example, the climactic scene refers to something else while the final scene says as much. The message is muddled as a result. Thus, the question ultimately is who's the thief here? Perhaps, the film's title should be changed to be consistent with its main theme.

Having said these, the actors perform their roles credibly. Special mention goes to Malek Ermileh for a convincing performance as young Malak. A bonus to the viewer are glimpses/great shots of the ancient town of Nablus with its roots in biblical times.
0 out of 0 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.

See also

Awards | FAQ | User Ratings | External Reviews | Metacritic Reviews

Recently Viewed