Fauda is a highly entertaining, brutally realistic series depicting the bitter feud between Palestinian terrorists and Israeli authorities. Sharing an equal amount of screen time, terrorist ringleader Abu Ahmad (Hisham Suliman) and special operative Doron (Lior Raz) engage in a game of cat and mouse through the first season’s 12 episodes which move along at breakneck speed from one impressively shot action set piece to the next, all the while painting a picture of a middle eastern world full of tension and distrust.
The story begins with retired special forces operative Doron who returns to work upon hearing a lucrative target, Abu Ahmed, will be attending his brother’s wedding. What begins as a simple covert strike quickly descends into chaos as an innocent man is shot dead, setting into motion a chain of events that spark retaliation attacks, suicide bombings, kidnappings and more. The episodes flow well, more often than not ending in a cliffhanger or shocking plot twist enticing you to keep watching through to the next episode. While this tactic may seem a little cliched, it actually works really well here given the suffocating tension hanging over large chunks of the run time.
Part of what makes Fauda such an interesting series is the way it humanises every character, realistically depicting the feud between two countries in a passive, unbiased way. Even Abu Ahmad, who could easily be depicted as the antagonistic terrorist ring-leader here, is given a well written arc with his family that plays on themes of sacrifice and love. While there are some who inevitably see this as a way of romanticising terrorists, the human element is ultimately what makes Fauda such a compelling series to watch.
The cinematography in Fauda is equally as impressive. Sickly yellow hues hang over large portions of the series and most of the action is shot through handheld cameras, getting up close and personal to the characters during tense skirmishes and verbal attacks. The camera rarely shies away from some of the more shocking moments either and whether it be the after effects of a terrorist explosion inside a nightclub or a doctor treating an infected wound, Fauda continuously keeps up its premise of a realistic, brutal world and the effects this feud has on bother sides of the border.
With breathless suspense, slick editing and some well written plot developments, Fauda is one of the best Israeli shows out there and certainly a rival for other high octane shows like 24 and Narcos. The characters are well written and the general cinematography of the show is solid all round. If you’re looking for a gritty, realistically depicted series about terrorists and the continued bitter feud between the Israelis and Palestinians, Fauda is the perfect show to binge and one of the better action offerings out right now.
Verdict - 8/10