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Critics reviews
Policeman
Nadav Lapid Israel, 2011
It is a stunningly achieved work that explores the condition of dogmatic factionalism both through body (the macho posturings of the Israeli police unit) and mind (the poetry slam-style declamations of the radicals). Lapid’s newest work The Kindergarten Teacher premiered at Cannes this year, so he isn’t leaving anytime soon; it’s high time the world catches up with him.
November 30, 2014
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Despite the movie’s ostensibly diagnostic cross section of Israeli society, none of its elements seem to exist on their own; all of them stand for something, from Yaron’s swaggering dances and uxorious devotions to Shira’s flirtations with an insipid underground rock scene. Lapid’s workmanlike direction illustrates his airless script efficiently, and sometimes engagingly, but unimaginatively. He has something to say; he shows very little.
June 16, 2014
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In “Policeman,” Mr. Lapid, making an electrifying feature directing debut, traces the line between the group and the individual in a story that can be read as a commentary on the world as much as on Israel. With a steady camera and cool approach, he devotes the movie’s first part to peeling away Yaron’s life, one layer at a time.
June 12, 2014
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Give the Israeli drama Policeman some credit: It keeps finding new ways to be unsatisfying. Arriving in U.S. theaters three years after its initial festival run—writer-director Nadav Lapid has already made a followup, The Kindergarten Teacher, which premièred at Cannes last month—the film is divided, not terribly neatly, into three parts, each one more frustrating than the last.
June 11, 2014
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To say that the ensuing drama moves at a snail’s pace runs the risk of offending any slugs who might be reading, but the incremental changes Yaron and his cohorts undergo are something of a slow-burning marvel to behold. Lapid is so unconcerned with crafting a conventional crime drama that merely titling his film Policeman reads as a minor subversion, a way of defining the narrative in relation to a genre it hardly fits into.
June 11, 2014
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As the setting shifts from open and well-lit spaces to a claustrophobic basement standoff, it’s clear that the action’s conclusion will not yield catharsis. Lapid’s film makes us feel it viscerally: the physical vitality of its police notwithstanding, the body politic remains unwell.
January 01, 2012
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It’s been a long time since a first feature has displayed such masterly direction as Nadav Lapid’s Policeman (Hashoter), such a sense of connection to the films of Godard, Bresson, Fassbinder, Kubrick, and Haneke, and giving those more perceptive viewers such a conviction of witnessing the arrival of an outstanding filmmaker while also discovering a major film as brilliant in formal terms as in its ideas.
December 01, 2011
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The first thirty minutes of the film depicts the (vaguely homoerotic) bonding rituals of an elite anti-terrorist unit, while we then move over to the more poetically inclined actions of militant socialist cell who plan capture and kill a billionaire industrialist. The film asks if we really know our enemy and it’s an idea that’s hit home with force in the deeply troubling final shot.
October 18, 2011
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Lapid holds his camera back with the cautious reserve of a documentarian, letting action play out at its own pace rather than jumping in with cuts and pans. Although he populates his film with intense, good-looking people, he uses close-ups sparingly, and eschews shot-reverse-shot almost entirely, instead filming only profiles, or allowing one face be obscured.
October 12, 2011
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Lapid presents these two storylines as representing increasingly at-war factions of the current Israeli consciousness, and as such, they’re destined to come to a head during Policeman’s finale. Lapid’s stewardship in the lead-up to that confrontation is remarkably assured, capturing an ever-present atmosphere of clique-ish camaraderie and pent-up fury and fanaticism through intense close-ups and vivid compositions of dynamic tension.
October 08, 2011
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Nadav Lapid’s first feature, a multiple award winner at last July’s Jerusalem Film Festival, is an eccentric corollary in ultra-insularity to The Footnote (the most Jewish father-son drama since The Jazz Singer), presenting an Israel that is even more balkanized.
September 28, 2011
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