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‘The Falconer’ review: Coming of age tale about friends, animals, & the black market

Heartwarming and fun.

The Falconer is the first movie to be shot entirely in Oman, a Middle Eastern country known for its restrictive and subdued media landscape. A story about friendship, culture, and theft becomes more than just another coming of age story based on the setting alone. The themes may be familiar, but everything takes on a deeper social context. 

Inspired by true events, the story is about best friends Tariq (Rami Zahar) and Cai (Rupert Fennessy). In order to raise money to help Tariq’s sister get out of an abusive marriage, the two decide to steal animals from the zoo. Their plan is to sell them on the black market. This leads to morally difficult choices and the reality of the differences between the two worlds they were raised in. 

The movie reads like a wacky comedy that will also impart a lesson. Wisely, The Falconer focuses on the relationship between the two friends instead of hijinks. There are elements of adventure, but the story is all about Tariq and Cai. This is a lot of pressure to put on two leads making their feature debut, but Zahar and Fennessy are able to pull it off.  The duo have great chemistry and make sure the story remains interesting the entire time.

The film also does a great job of highlighting Omani culture without resorting to stereotypes or painting in broad strokes. This has a dual effect of keeping the audience engaged while also showing just how strong the bond is. They are navigating social and cultural differences. Beautifully shot, The Falconer is a heartwarming coming of age tale. The movie is about the moral divides that may come between friends due to their cultures. Friendship is the driving theme as is evidence by photos and videos of the real life friends seen during the closing credits.

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