One of the pleasures of Ajami, a tough and in many ways unsparing movie, is its deep immersion in the beats and melodies of everyday life in Jaffa and beyond... Some of the scenes, as they unwind slowly and take surprising turns, have the rough, surprising rhythm of a documentary.
At the same time, though, the film has an ingenious and carefully worked-out structure. Dividing their story into chapters that are presented out of chronological order, the filmmakers embrace the multi-stranded, decentered narrative strategy that has become one of the prevalent conventions of contemporary world cinema. There are no coincidences, only hidden connections among apparently random events, some of which happen more than once so that the deeper patterns can be revealed. --The New York Times