After some ropey exposition – necessary to set up the chessboard – The Worthy dives headfirst into a cracking game of cat-and-mouse. Director Ali F. Mostafa’s tight hand on the reins ensures that the film never loses sight of its themes and specific worldview in all the madness, offering up an unmissable thriller that is as reflective as it is destructive.
A strong ensemble cast gel perfectly into the grit and rubble – Samer Ismail is particularly convincing as Mussa, a mysterious stranger who joins the ragtag community led by Samer Al Masry’s sweet and paternal Shuaib. While The Worthy’s apocalypse isn’t necessary original – fans of the Fallout games will find themselves right at home – the film understands the value in keeping the action grounded, and before long you’ll be counting how many bullets are left right alongside the survivors.
Nidal Morra and Vikram Weet’s tight script squeezes every ounce out of the short runtime, with even the bizarre and enigmatic prologue resurfacing in unexpected ways. Although there’s a bit of a red-shirt effect when some survivors enter the fray, as a whole The Worthy delivers twists left and right, cracking up the claustrophobia and escalating into spectacular chaos. Be warned though, this may not be for the faint hearted – The Worthy boasts a gut-churning brutal streak that will delight hardcore genre fans, as well as some insane moral questions you’ll be puzzled by for days (don’t expect to look at a seesaw the same way again).
By the time The Worthy rounds up with a stirring epilogue, you’ll be disappointed to leave a cracking film that stands tall in an overcrowded marketplace. This smashing Arabic thriller offers blood-spilling kills and bone-chilling thrills – a perfect gateway for the uninitiated into what foreign films can offer in the way of carnage.
CAST: Ali Suliman, Ruba Blal, Maisa Abd Elhadi, Samer Ismail
DIRECTOR: Ali F. Mostafa
WRITERS: Nidal Morra (adapted by), Vikram Weet
SYNOPSIS: Emirati filmmaker Ali F. Mostafa makes his most ambitious, mature film to date with The Worthy, a visually spectacular dystopian take on an Arab world torn apart by social disorder. A small group of survivors have sought refuge with the only clean remaining water source in the area. When two visitors infiltrate their compound, they soon become pawns in a test for survival, where only one of them shall be chosen worthy.