5/10 Great cinematography and lead performances, but a very poorely written script ruins it all. Most of the scenes seems dull and banal. Some shots are unnecessary long. Maoz tried to hard to achieve high level of his debut work, but fails. Not recommended? already forgotten
Really incredible storytelling, visually and narratively. The cinematography in particular was incredible. The first 1/3 reminded me a lot of A Separation (my favorite film of this decade), and the rest reminded me a lot of Waltz with Bashir (one of my favorites of the 00s), so this is in great company.
Maoz's followup to 'Lebanon' is a strange mix of high drama and absurdity that mostly fails to gel into something meaningful or original. Broken into three sections and a coda the film is best served in the first and third sections with strong turns from leads Ashkenazi and Adler. The checkpoint setting of the middle section drags the movie down with its points far from subtle. Has its moments but a disappointment.
Loved the opening 15 minutes with the intricate choreography of the ambassadors of death. The middle segment about life at the checkpoint was well-choreographed. Was unnecessary to show the final death scene, as well as to have dialogue telling us exactly what happened. The audience can fill in the pieces, and it would be more haunting if we are forced to actively do so. The animated sequence was excellent.
2.5 Could bump this up. Couple with The Square for the year's most abstract movie party, where scene by scene details seem to operate on an entire other playing field from what the script thinks it is saying. The gamble of allegory, I suppose. For some, the simple message may adopt the quality of a mantra, for others, the labor it takes to reach it won't be justified. Middle section perhaps too good for this movie.
Despite having some reserves about it - even more substantiated by the movie's first 20min - I have to admit that the movie is really strong and wonderfully filmed. The narrative arc's missing point (missing on purpose) are keenly filled by few conversation lines that aren't intrusive or too vague. The picture plays with styles, and the dreamlike sequences - coupled with the animation one - are key to its success.