Directed by: Dror Moreh
Released on: February 1st, 2013 (LIMITED)
Grade: 3 out of 5 meatballs
Reviewed by: Justin Tucker
The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is one of the most complex issues of our time. The region is a powder keg that could explode at any moment. It’s a tragic cycle of violence that will endlessly continue unless both parties actually put aside ethnic and religious differences to bring about a lasting peace.
Many films have been made about the conflict, but few are as insightful and gripping as the Israeli documentary The Gatekeepers. Directed by Dror Moreh, the film explores the secret history of Shin Bet, an Israeli intelligence agency that specializes in combating terrorism. They have been a major force since the founding of the State of Israel and performed major operations in the Six-Day War, the intifadas and other Israeli-Palestinian skirmishes.
The Gatekeepers features revealing, sobering interviews with six former heads of Shin Bet. These are hardened, desensitized men. They have been at the front of the fight and have blood on their hands. Their testimonies tell the Shin Bet story in their own words and offer incredible insight into the complexities and tragedies of the conflict. These men are patriotic Israelis who have worked their entire lives for their country, but they begin to see a futility to the cycle of violence. Peace may seem like a viable option after all.
The Gatekeepers takes cues from Errol Morris’s The Fog of War, examining men working behind-the-scenes in controversial conflicts and how blunt realities force them to reflect on the ethics of war. Moreh weaves the narrative together in a way that allows his subjects to offer cautionary lessons — lessons from elder statesmen to future generations.
The Gatekeepers caused a buzz at film festivals in Venice, Telluride, Toronto and New York, and was nominated for Best Documentary at the 85th Academy Awards. The film is deserving of its praise, for it certainly is a provocative and enlightening documentary.