A young Bedouin boy experiences a greatly hastened coming of age as he embarks on a perilous desert journey in Theeb. Theeb (Jacir Eid Al-Hwietat) is the youngest of three brothers living in a Bedouin tribe in the harsh desert environment of the Ottoman Empire’s Hejaz Province in 1916. When a British officer (Jack Fox) comes across the tribe’s camp, Theeb’s older brother of Hussein (Hussein Salameh Al-Sweilhiyeen) is asked to act as a guide to the officer’s destination, with Theeb deciding to come along for a desert adventure. However, when the group comes across bandits, Theeb finds himself having fend for himself in the desert.
Theeb is an Arabian desert adventure set during World War I, focusing on this young Bedouin boy, who must come of age sooner than expected, if he is expected to survive on this dangerous desert journey. Theeb features many splendid visuals of the Jordanian desert and is all together a pretty wonderful adventure. The name Theeb is translated into wolf, which suggests the themes that the film is going for. Theeb is a boy that is always hungry for adventure and he has a close relationship with his brother Hussein, who teaches Theeb basic survival skills. When this British officer comes across Theeb’s tribe, it seems like the perfect opportunity for an adventure in the desert. However, it quickly turns out that the desert can be a very dangerous play for a young boy.
Theeb begins appearing like it is going to be one type of film, before it switches gears around the halfway point and becomes more a story about survival. There is a quite lengthy section of the film, where the focus is entirely on the young actor Jacir Eid Al-Hwietat as the titular character. Theeb struggles to survive alone in the desert, after the escorting journey goes horribly awry. The film is deeply enthralling to watch and there are even some moments that are quite thrilling and even caught me off guard.
Theeb has some very excellent cinematography, particularly the wide desert shots and the film is truly a great example of escapist cinema, with Theeb being a film that can be watched just to escape to this Arabian world for a couple hours. While Theeb is ultimately a relatively simple story, it all comes together through the great visuals and the excellent performance by the young lead. Altogether, this is a film well worth checking out.