Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB.
Original title: Ha-shoter
Israel/France, 2011. Hot, Laïla Films, Rabinovich Film Fund Cinema Project. Screenplay by Nadav Lapid. Cinematography by Shai Goldman. Produced by Itai Tamir. Production Design by Avi Fahima. Costume Design by Amit Berlowitz. Film Editing by Era Lapid.
Yaron is a member of an elite anti-terrorist unit in the Tel Aviv police force; at home, his wife is heavily pregnant and ready to give birth at any time, which presses on his mind as trouble brews across town. Yaron and his fellow cops are constantly on the lookout for trouble from the city’s Arab citizens, but it is actually a group of radical Jewish activists who are planning to stage a kidnapping to make known their objections to the corrupt capitalism of their government. When the heist occurs, director Nadav Lapid intelligently puts his characters in a highly tense situation that has overtones of human ridiculousness that never upset the tenor of the drama, inspiring pity for the folly of people who are completely blind to acts they believe are for the greater good but are actually quite selfish. Even more humorous is Lapid’s complete undercutting of his characters’ positions by showing how feckless they are: the tough cops spend most of their time lounging in a cafe and using their uniform to impress girls when they are not sunning themselves on the beach, while the self-described terrorists are beset by puppy love, parental disapproval and their overwhelming desire to get their aims heard on television. Funny, dark and very sexy, this is a subtle drama with a bounty of rewards.