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

Captain America: Civil War Movie Review

Captain America: Civil War Movie Review

After the formulaic thrills of The Winter Soldier and Age of Ultron, Marvel's Avengers were...

Son of Saul Movie Review

Son of Saul Movie Review

From Hungary, this year's Oscar-winning foreign film is a remarkably fresh take on the Holocaust...

Demolition Movie Review

Demolition Movie Review

With its darkly emotive themes and brittle humour, this well-made drama by Jean-Marc Vallee (Dallas...

Bastille Day Movie Review

Bastille Day Movie Review

An attempt to muscle in on Luc Besson's Taken-style of thriller, this is an odd...

Secret Cinema Presents: 28 Days Later Movie Review

Secret Cinema Presents: 28 Days Later Movie Review

Expectations are a problem with this year's Secret Cinema event. After the jaw-dropping, goosebump-inducing surprises...

Jane Got a Gun Movie Review

Jane Got a Gun Movie Review

With its grindingly low-key tension and unusual perspectives, this Western has a chance to revamp...

Criminal Movie Review

Criminal Movie Review

Almost criminally entertaining, this preposterous thriller mixes buckets of humour and emotion into the violent,...

Advertisement
The Jungle Book Movie Review

The Jungle Book Movie Review

Using remarkably photorealistic animation, this remake of the 1967 Disney classic is warm and enjoyable,...

Eye in the Sky Movie Review

Eye in the Sky Movie Review

Almost forensic in its approach, this smart thriller explores a drone strike from a variety...

Midnight Special Movie Review

Midnight Special Movie Review

Gifted director Jeff Nichols takes on another genre in his fourth film with actor Michael...

Boulevard Movie Review

Boulevard Movie Review

This dark, introspective drama hinges on one of Robin Williams' final film performances before his...

The Huntsman: Winter's War Movie Review

The Huntsman: Winter's War Movie Review

Aside from success at the box office, there was nothing about 2012's rather uneven fantasy...

Black Mountain Poets Movie Review

Black Mountain Poets Movie Review

It's fairly obvious that the cast and crew began making this film with only the...

Victoria Movie Review

Victoria Movie Review

One of the most breathtaking films of the year, this ambitious story shifts from a...

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.