Box art for Ajami

Ajami

  • Rated NR

independent, special interest


Ajami is the religiously mixed community of Muslims and Christians in Tel Aviv. These are five stories about the everyday life in Ajami.

Rotten Tomatoes® scores

  • Critic Score
    97%
  • Audience Score
    81%

movie reviews from Rotten Tomatoes®

  • Tomatometer®

    97%
    reviews counted: 29
    see all Ajami reviews
  • Audience

    81%

Top Critic Reviews

Fresh: You emerge from Ajami moved and also a little worn out, but mostly grateful for the heart, craft and intelligence the movie has shown.

- A.O. Scott, New York Times, Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Fresh: A confident contemporary crime thriller that, yes, may rely on perhaps a few too many plot coincidences to hang together, but otherwise offers a bracing insight into a troubled situation without hectoring us with insipid platitudes.

- Alistair Harkness, Scotsman, Monday, July 19, 2010

Fresh: Shani and Copti (who costars as a hipster druggie) elicit moving performances from their nonprofessional actors, who ground the somewhat breathless action in a streetwise realism.

- Andrea Gronvall, Chicago Reader, Thursday, February 18, 2010

Audience Reviews

4 stars

Directed by a Palestinian and an Israeli, this film tells the stories of several men in Israel/Palestine who struggle in the midst of colonization and ethnic hatred. It wasn't until over an hour into the film that I finally figured out what was going on. The directors use an Tarantino-esque style of fractured narration and points of view, and though it may have been my fault - I might have been slow on the uptake - the story-telling was not as crisp as Tarantino, who is able to introduce all his characters in a short period of time without letting plot lines dangle too long. That said, once Ajami revealed itself, I found it remarkably compelling. Every moment rang with verisimilitude, and it felt like I was watching real people's lives unfold in a tragic, star-crossed land. Compared to other genuine films about Israel/Palestine, like Laila's Birthday, Ajami is much darker, almost hopeless. Its message is a desperate condemnation of the hatred and violence that suffuse everyday life in the directors' homelands. Overall, I think now that you know you can trust the directors' storytelling - that you know that it all makes sense by the end - you might be able to enjoy the hell out of this important film.

- hunterjt13, Sunday, November 27, 2011

4 stars

It took a bit of time to figure out the disjointed non-linear plotting with this film. The detailed flashbacks, with increasingly more details, was likely the whole point of the movie. Every time more details were filled in, and more information was available, the assumptions about the motives and actions of the characters became more understandable. By the very end, it all came together in a most shocking way. Well done.

- itsjustme2004, Sunday, January 23, 2011

5 stars

Okay, I think I'm in the twilight zone but, then again, I'm pretty sure I'm not. It's not just that this is an interesting movie with some agile narrative manipulation along the lines of Pulp Fiction and Rashomon. That's a definite plus. You know you're watching a decent movie when time flies and you don't even bother to check the counter on your DVD player. What is truly mind-blowing about this movie, however, is something I did not know going in nor did I even discover it, quite by accident, until I watched the extras and learned the "actors" are not professional actors. That's right, even though I kept telling myself, "Wow, this is a great group of really fine actors," I was mightily surprised to find out in the extras that not a single one of the people in this movie is an actor. They're all plain old folks brought in from the community, who were led through a few acting workshops, and then turned loose in front of the camera. And if that isn't mind-blowing enough, none of them saw the script or knew the story throughout the filming of the movie. They were simply put into scenes, told what was basically going on in those scenes, and then they ad-libbed all the dialog. All the dialog. Every single word! You have to see this not just because it's a decent story and well made, but especially because these are just average Joes and Janes from the neighborhood improvising a two-hour movie. I repeat: mind-blowing! And I hardly ever view the extras, as I've said in the past. A quick survey of "the critics" leads me to believe that not a whole lot of folks know -- or maybe even care -- about this phenomenon. And it is phenomenal, don't you think?

- binky013, Wednesday, August 25, 2010