Friday, June 13, 2014

Released December 29, 2011 (Hungary), releases June 13, 2014 (US)
1 hr 45 mins
Not Rated


Director: Nadav Lapid

Yiftach Klein as Yaron
Yaara Pelzig as Shira
Michael Moshonov as Oded
Menashe Noy as Michael
Michael Aloni as Nathanael
Gal Hoyberger as Ariel
Meital Barda as Nili
Shaul Mizrahi as Hila
Rona-Lee Shim'on as Hila's Father
Ben Adam as Yotam

Yaron, an elite special operations squad leader, is the spiritual leader and alpha male among his peers, a small, highly trained team that is part of the Israeli Defense Ministry's Anti-Terrorism unit. These men work, play, laugh, and cry together. They are true patriots. Yaron's wife is expecting their first child, and the failing health of a team member weighs on his soul, and the price that must be paid as a result of this. As the story shifts, the antagonists are introduced: a small group of politically extreme individuals with their own vision of how Israeli society should be. They use terrorism to make their misguided vision a reality. Yaron faces the prospect of the very evil he works to eliminate taking on the form of his beloved Israeli countrymen. For the sake of his team, his expectant wife, and himself, he must hold himself together and perform his duties.

Reviewed by Stephen M.

Policeman an Israeli film by first time Director Nadav Lapid is a drama that gives you a lot of insight to the family life and bond that the anti-terrorism squad shares.  It also gives you the perspective of Israeli radicals, a group of youths, disenfranchise with the way the country is run, and how the social divide between the wealthy and poor is a mile wide.  The film is in Hebrew with English subtitles releases in the U.S. beginning tomorrow with a limited release.

What immediately stands out for me in the film, is how subdue it is as far as violence.  Director/Writer Nadav Lapid focuses on the human elements of the anti-terrorism squad and the radical cell than making this into yet another action flick.  If you're looking for an action flick, then definitely look elsewhere.  For a thought provoking story that gives you a glimpse into the life of Israelis we rarely see as Americans, this is a movie for you.  The film is well acted led by the lead Yiftach Klein as Yaron, who is the tough squad leader.  His opposites are equally impressive with Yaara Pelzig as Shira and Michael Aloni as Nathanael, leaders of the radical cell.  

The movie begins with a focus on Yaron and his squad and their daily lives and problems.  Yaron's wife is expecting while one of the squad members, Ariel (Gal Hoyberger) is battling cancer.  To make matters worse, in one of their missions they killed several civilians of which Ariel has agreed to take the blame considering his condition.  The film almost half way through switches focus to the radical group.  The four youths are seemingly intelligent individuals from middle class to affluent families.  One has a crush on another, who seems to love another.  One thing they do agree upon is that the rich must pay for the grievances of the poor.  It's interesting in that most movies or television shows focuses on the Arab or Muslim opposition to Israel instead of the internal struggles that Israel faces.  This is just yet another reason why you should watch this film.

Overall, I would still recommend it despite the lack of action in the film.  Some of the action scenes they could have shown for example is their botched mission causing the death of innocent civilians would have made for interesting scenes.  Also there are some non-action scenes that are questionable to me as to their purpose.  Such as when the squad leader Yaron meets a young female teen by the beach offering her to touch his gun.  Despite all this, watch the film as the insight that Nadav Lapid gives to us about the lives or Israelis that we normally see are interesting.  And of course the movie's cast is superb in their performances.  In New York, catch it at the Elinor Bunin Munroe Film Center on 144 W. 65th Street.  


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