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Stars: Jacir Eid, Jack Fox, Marji Audeh, Hussein Salamah, Hassan Mutlag

Director: Naji Abu Nowar

Spectacularly shot (by Wolfgang Thaler) in desert locations adjacent to those used in Lawrence of Arabia, this rites-of-passage adventure, set during World War One, keeps the accent on realism: flies are everywhere, their buzzing accentuated by the soundtrack.

Theeb (Jacir Eid) is the youngest member of a tribe of Bedouin goatherders, currently offering hospitality to a desert guide (Marji Audeh) and his charge, a mysterious Englishman (Jack Fox) carrying an even more mysterious box that no one is allowed near.

To guide than to their next destination, Theeb's older brother Hussein (Hussein salamah) finds himself volunteered. Unknown to the departing trio, Theeb tags along. When his donkey refuses to cooperate any longer, the boy continues his pursuit on foot. But bandits and treachery await them along the way.

Underscored by imposing 'mystic East' music from Jerry Lane, the resultant journey does have its excitements and suspense, especially when Theeb is trapped down a well, but rather too many lulls as well, when there is nothing much to look at but the desert.

In an all-amateur cast, the boy is an appealing urchin in the Kim tradition.

David Quinlan

Jordan/UK/UAE/Qatar 2013. UK Distributor: New Wave Films. Colour by Kodak.
100 minutes. Not widescreen. UK certificate: 12A.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 0, Violence/Horror 1, Drugs 0, Swearing 0.

Review date: 14 Aug 2015