Channel 4: PREMIERE Wednesday 24 June, 12.25am
A refugee camp on the outskirts of Beirut in 1982: Palestinian orphan Abdallah El Akal is ordered to guard downed Israeli pilot Stephen Dorff until the airman can be handed over to the PLO. But the boy wants to return to his homeland and offers to free Dorff if he’ll escort him to Palestine. Zaytoun is Arabic for olive, and that’s the branch that El Akal is warily waving in Dorff’s direction. An intractable conflict reduced by Lemon Tree director Eran Riklis to the simplistic liberal humanism of Stanley Kramer’s The Defiant Ones. Its heart is in the right place but its brain is missing in action. Incidentally, Dorff started out as a child actor, too, in The Gate, a likeable 1987 Canadian flick that pitched The Goonies as a horror show.