The Gatekeepers

"Excellent"

The Gatekeepers Review


The former heads of Israel's military anti-terrorism agency Shin Bet break their silence in this unnerving, eye-opening documentary. Nominated for an Oscar, the film is structured around interviews with these six men, so there isn't much in the way of balanced reporting. Although it's surprising how honest they are about the moral shadiness of their work. And how their opinions have shifted since they stepped down from the job.

After the Six Day War in 1967, Israel's government stopped thinking of Palestinians as wartime enemies: now they are terrorists. So they set up Shin Bet as a secret service to contain them. The stated goal was to find peace, but few Israeli government officials ever bothered to talk to Palestine's leaders, demanding "peace" only on Israel's terms. Talking to filmmaker Moreh's cameras, these six former Shin Bet directors share anecdotes about military campaigns, assassinations and various attacks from both Palestinians and radical Jews.

The film is assembled like Errol Morris' The Fog of War, as these men reminisce about their lives and work and second-guess both their decisions and the entire political structure of Israel-Palestine. Many of their stories are deeply horrific accounts of torture and killing, all justified because "you have to forget about morality" in this kind of job. Along the way, they expose shallow governments that want instant results regardless of long-term fallout, and they also reveal the callous ethnic prejudice that infuses Israeli politics. Of course, all of this takes on an especially creepy resonance as we see parallels with the "war on terror" created by Bush-Cheney and picked up by both Obama and America's allies.

As the film progresses, each man begins to admit his doubts. "Being an occupying army has made us cruel," one observes, noting that they used terrorism themselves to wage their assaults. Indeed, all are aware of how the world's grey-shaded reality sits at odds with a more simplistic black-and-white politics. Moreh accompanies the interviews with a wealth of archive footage and photographs, and uses a groundbreaking technique to convert still images into virtual reality so we can prowl around in them from various angles. All of this makes the film haunting and unforgettable, and it affirms that a real search for peace is the only hope the world has left.

Rich Cline



The Gatekeepers

Facts and Figures

Genre: Documentaries

Run time: 101 mins

In Theaters: Thursday 14th March 2013

Box Office USA: $2.4M

Distributed by: Sony Pictures Classics

Production compaines: Arte France, Les Films du Poisson, Cinephil, RTBF, NDR

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 4 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 93%
Fresh: 96 Rotten: 7

IMDB: 7.6 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director: Dror Moreh

Producer: Estelle Fialon, Philippa Kowarsky, Dror Moreh

Starring: Ami Ayalon as himself, Avraham Shalom as himself, Yaakov Peri as himself, Carmi Gillon as himself, Avi Dichter as himself, Yuval Diskin as himself

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Colossal Movie Review

Colossal Movie Review

It's rare to find a movie that so defiantly refuses to be put into a...

King Arthur: Legend of the Sword Movie Review

King Arthur: Legend of the Sword Movie Review

It's unlikely that Guy Ritchie could make a boring movie if he wanted to. This...

Snatched Movie Review

Snatched Movie Review

It doesn't really matter that the script for this lively action-comedy is paper thin: teaming...

Jawbone Movie Review

Jawbone Movie Review

Boxing movies aren't usually this thoughtful. Sure, there are plenty of punchy moments in the...

Whisky Galore! Movie Review

Whisky Galore! Movie Review

Scottish filmmaker Gillies MacKinnon (Hideous Kinky) remakes the 1949 Ealing comedy classic, although it's difficult...

Alien: Covenant Movie Review

Alien: Covenant Movie Review

Master filmmaker Ridley Scott is back to continue the story 10 years after the events...

The Journey (2017) Movie Review

The Journey (2017) Movie Review

A fictionalised account of real events, this drama is reminiscent of Peter Morgan's work in...

Advertisement
Sleepless Movie Review

Sleepless Movie Review

In remaking the 2011 French thriller Sleepless Night, the filmmakers have dumbed down both the...

Unlocked Movie Review

Unlocked Movie Review

By injecting a steady sense of fun, this slick but mindless action thriller both holds...

Lady Macbeth Movie Review

Lady Macbeth Movie Review

A seriously impressive feature directing debut with a star-making central performance, this period British drama...

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 Movie Review

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 Movie Review

It was never going to be easy to match the impact of 2014's Guardians of...

The Promise Movie Review

The Promise Movie Review

The director of Hotel Rwanda, Terry George, turns to another humanitarian horror: the systematic murder...

Their Finest Movie Review

Their Finest Movie Review

Skilfully written, directed and acted, this offbeat British period film tells a story that catches...

Unforgettable Movie Review

Unforgettable Movie Review

With heavy echoes of trashy thrillers like Fatal Attraction, this movie overcomes its painfully simplistic...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.