West Beirut review

Why you can trust GamesRadar+ Our experts review games, movies and tech over countless hours, so you can choose the best for you. Find out more about our reviews policy.

Beirut, 1975: Civil war has broken out in Lebanon. Tarek (Doueiri), Omar (Chamas) and May (Al Amin) are three young friends whose lives will be changed by the conflict. Their school has been closed down, and the capital is split into the Muslim West and Christian East. But, although bombs are falling every night, the teens are determined to keep exploring the city and to continue developing their own Super 8 films.

Drawing on his own childhood experiences in which "the happy memories have cancelled out the bad ones", writer-director Ziad Doueiri (Tarantino's camera operator) has made an accomplished coming-of-age drama that's earned rightful comparisons to John Boorman's Hope And Glory.

The focus here is very much on how the youthful protagonists maintain their curiosity, rather than on the historical events of the war itself. There's little in the way of plot, rather a succession of engaging scenes, but Tarek et al prove highly sympathetic characters.

More info

Available platformsMovie

The Total Film team are made up of the finest minds in all of film journalism. They are: Editor Jane Crowther, Deputy Editor Matt Maytum, Reviews Ed Matthew Leyland, News Editor Jordan Farley, and Online Editor Emily Murray. Expect exclusive news, reviews, features, and more from the team behind the smarter movie magazine.