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

Alice Through the Looking Glass Movie Review

Alice Through the Looking Glass Movie Review

This much more light-hearted sequel reinvigorates the franchise after Disney's quirky but murky 2010 reboot...

Love & Friendship Movie Review

Love & Friendship Movie Review

Acclaimed filmmaker Whit Stillman reunites the stars of his 1998 drama The Last Days of...

Money Monster Movie Review

Money Monster Movie Review

A sleekly made thriller with a sparky sense of humour, this is also a rare...

X-Men: Apocalypse Movie Review

X-Men: Apocalypse Movie Review

This closing chapter of the First Class trilogy falls into the same trap as The...

Sing Street Movie Review

Sing Street Movie Review

A buoyant celebration of the power of music, this is the third blissfully entertaining musical...

Departure Movie Review

Departure Movie Review

Complex, dark and very moving, this British drama never makes things easy for the audience,...

Everybody Wants Some!! Movie Review

Everybody Wants Some!! Movie Review

Richard Linklater loosely follows on from two of his most acclaimed films with this lively...

Advertisement
Our Kind of Traitor Movie Review

Our Kind of Traitor Movie Review

John le Carre's novel is adapted with plenty of inventive style into a remarkably personal...

The Angry Birds Movie Movie Review

The Angry Birds Movie Movie Review

There's nothing particularly memorable about this frantic animated romp, which adapts the iconic phone-app game...

Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising [Bad Neighbours 2] Movie Review

Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising [Bad Neighbours 2] Movie Review

While it's amusing and sometimes very funny, there's an air of desperation about this sequel...

Florence Foster Jenkins Movie Review

Florence Foster Jenkins Movie Review

Although this comedy-drama seems to have been written specifically to give Meryl Streep a chance...

I Saw the Light Movie Review

I Saw the Light Movie Review

Writer-director Marc Abraham gets ambitious with this biopic about iconic country music star Hank Williams,...

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...

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.