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Our Top 3 Reasons Why Omertà Is A Film You Need To Check Out

Anokhi Buzz New Movie Oct 03, 2017

#TIFF2017 brought us Omertà, Hansal Mehta’s latest feature film. We’ve got our top reasons why Omertà is a film you need to check out! 

Five years after bringing his riveting biopic Shahid to TIFF, director Hansal Mehta returned this year with another gritty fact-based drama.

Omertà — whose title refers to the Mafia code forbidding cooperation with authorities at all costs — chronicles the life of Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh. A British-born activist, Sheikh joined Al-Qaeda in the early ’90s to fight for Pakistani rights, kicking off a career in terrorism that most famously included kidnapping and murdering Wall Street Journal journalist Daniel Pearl in 2002.

Among other crimes, he’s also alleged to have played a role in financially facilitating the 9/11 attacks. We caught the film at this year’s festival. Here’s the scoop.

  1. A compelling lead.
Omertà Is A Film You Need To Check Out
Our 3 Top Reasons Why Omertà Is a Film You Need to Check Out: Star Rajkummar Rao on the red carpet at TIFF. Photo Credit: Jeremy Chan/Getty Images for TIFF.

As he did in Shahid, star Rajkummar Rao proves a more-than-capable anchor for Mehta’s dark retelling of this true story. For the actor, though, the role posed an entirely different sort of challenge. Here, Rao is coldblooded and cerebral, with a hint of quiet menace permeating even his most civil exchanges. Any regret or self-doubt is locked away deep beneath an impenetrable outer shell. He creates an inscrutable villain, captivating in his coldness and best evidenced by one heinous visual toward the end of the picture that isn’t easy to shake.

2. Taut, brutal and unflinching.

Omertà Is A Film You Need To Check Out
Our Top 3 Reasons Why Omertà Is A Film You Need To Check Out: Rajkummar Rao as infamous terrorist Omar Sheikh. Photo Credit: Tiff.net

The film jumps back and forth in Sheikh’s life. We see his chillingly executed seduction and kidnapping of a group of tourists in India as well as to his days as a youngster in Britain protesting the Bosnian Genocide and so on. Throughout it all, Mehta trains a cold, unflinching eye on his protagonist while adroitly ratcheting up the tension as his exploits become ever more daring and vicious. This is not a film that sets out to humanize Sheikh but, instead, to viscerally chronicle his deeds and the extremism that begat them.

3. A hard watch.

Omertà Is A Film You Need To Check Out
Our Top 3 Reasons Why Omertà Is A Film You Need To Check Out: (L–R) Rupinder Nagra, Rajkummar Rao, Hansal Mehta and Timothy Ryan attend the Omerta” premiere during the 2017 Toronto International Film Festival. Photo Credit: Jeremy Chan/Getty Images/TIFF.net

Rao’s charisma and Mehta’s practiced hand guiding the camera go a long way to keep this inherently bleak affair compelling. Still, they have created an oppressively dark, cold world here that will be tough for some filmgoers to sit through — even at a brisk 96-minute runtime.

What’s more, when the action shifts to a less compelling subplot or the focus turns to an actor who’s not quite on the same level as Rao (and there are a few), momentum starts to wobble and wane. But on the whole, if you don’t mind a challenge, Omertà is an expertly lensed, compellingly acted affair.

 

Main Image Photo Credit: Tiff.net

 

Matthew Currie

Matthew Currie

Author

Having gotten his start with Anokhi Media as an intern in 2009, Matthew Currie was honoured to accept a position as the magazine’s Arts & Entertainment editor earlier this year. A graduate of the Professional Writing program at York University, he’s spent the past four years working as a fre...

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