Sunday, 26 February 2012

GFF 2012: Omar Killed Me

It’s obvious Omar Killed Me is based on fact; no fictional equivalent would make its central injustice so glaring. The film presents the murder conviction of Moroccan gardener Omar Rassad as a scandalous combination of falsified reports, xenophobic contempt and judicial malpractice on a terrible scale; corruption and ineptitude conspiring to imprison an innocent man.

Roschdy Zem – star of the Oscar-nominated Days of Glory and 2011 GFF hit Point Blank, amongst others – directs with confidence if not quite flair, the film strongest in an opening third that alternates between Omar’s arrest in 1991, and a writer’s investigation into the case three years later. This dual-thread later gives way to a more prosaic procedural structure, but as is so often the case with films by actors-turned-directors, any formal shortcomings are offset by the quality of the performances. Zem’s frequent co-star Sami Bouajila, in particular, is excellent in the lead role, convincingly internalising complex emotions: defiance, desperation, anger, and defeat.

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