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

Star Wars: The Last Jedi Movie Review

Star Wars: The Last Jedi Movie Review

After the thunderous reception for J.J. Abrams' Episode VII: The Force Awakens two years ago,...

Daddy's Home 2 Movie Review

Daddy's Home 2 Movie Review

Like the 2015 original, this comedy plays merrily with cliches to tell a silly story...

The Man Who Invented Christmas Movie Review

The Man Who Invented Christmas Movie Review

There's a somewhat contrived jauntiness to this blending of fact and fiction that may leave...

Ferdinand Movie Review

Ferdinand Movie Review

This animated comedy adventure is based on the beloved children's book, which was published in...

Brigsby Bear Movie Review

Brigsby Bear Movie Review

Director Dave McCary makes a superb feature debut with this offbeat black comedy, which explores...

Battle of the Sexes Movie Review

Battle of the Sexes Movie Review

A dramatisation of the real-life clash between tennis icons Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs,...

Shot Caller Movie Review

Shot Caller Movie Review

There isn't much subtlety to this prison thriller, but it's edgy enough to hold the...

Advertisement
The Disaster Artist Movie Review

The Disaster Artist Movie Review

A hilariously outrageous story based on real events, this film recounts the making of the...

Stronger Movie Review

Stronger Movie Review

Based on a true story about the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing, this looks like one...

Only the Brave Movie Review

Only the Brave Movie Review

Based on a genuinely moving true story, this film undercuts the realism by pushing its...

Wonder Movie Review

Wonder Movie Review

This film may be based on RJ Palacio's fictional bestseller, but it approaches its story...

Happy End  Movie Review

Happy End Movie Review

Austrian auteur Michael Haneke isn't known for his light touch, but rather for hard-hitting, award-winning...

Patti Cake$ Movie Review

Patti Cake$ Movie Review

Seemingly from out of nowhere, this film generates perhaps the biggest smile of any movie...

The Limehouse Golem Movie Review

The Limehouse Golem Movie Review

A Victorian thriller with rather heavy echoes of Jack the Ripper, this film struggles to...

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.