As a child I used to love adventure films. I grew up with old videos of Laurence of Arabia and The Desert Song along with Romancing The Stone, Raiders of the Lost Ark and The Goonies on TV. As an adult, I’m still a sucker for the genre, whether it be great films like The Mummy or the dubious efforts like Sahara or National Treasure. Thematically, Theeb is somewhere between Adventure and Western, captivating through the eyes of the overly-curious young titular hero.
Set in a an Ottoman province in Western Arabia during World War I, Theeb (Jacir Eid) lives in a camp of pilgrim guides. When a mysterious British soldier (Jack Fox) and his Arab escort Marji (Marji Audeh) arrive, his brother Hussein (Hussein Salameh) agrees to take them across bandit country to a well near the train tracks. The curious Theeb decides to follow them but events begin to overtake him when they’re ambushed.
Theeb is a beautifully shot film with great acting and a tightly-sprung and clever plot. There’s something refreshing and exciting about watching cinema which uses location shooting. Naji Abu Nowar keeps his cards close to his chest throughout, keeping you guessing until the end. Hassan Mutlag is impressive as a mercenary who is driven by necessity whilst Jacir Eid is a revelation as the innocent and inquisitive boy, thrust into unfamiliar territory and forced to grow-up quickly.
Theeb is out in cinemas on August 14.