Zaytoun review

A Palestinian refugee and an Israeli pilot form a bond

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Stephen Dorff continues his Somewhere -instigated comeback in this odd-couple tale about a downed Israeli fighter pilot who takes a perilous trek across war-torn Lebanon with a 10-year-old Palestinian refugee (Abdallah El Akal).

Eran Riklis’ road movie – its title means ‘olive’ – neatly juxtaposes the beauty of the landscape with the enmities it engenders, locating an optimism in the central relationship that subsequent history (as explored in Waltz With Bashir ) would cruelly dash.

You wonder, though, if the ultra-specific backdrop is really just a smokescreen for the sort of heart-tugging man-and-boy yarn that tends to tickle gong-givers this time of year.

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Freelance Writer

Neil Smith is a freelance film critic who has written for several publications, including Total Film. His bylines can be found at the BBC, Film 4 Independent, Uncut Magazine, SFX Magazine, Heat Magazine, Popcorn, and more.