As a tourist boat crosses the Bosporous, a man makes eye contact
with a child. His mother protectively cradles the child to her. Tension
builds, and the audience expectation may be that something will
happen. Well it does, but the child is spared. Instead, the man turns out
to be Eyal (Lior Ashkenazi), a Mossad agent skilled in assassination and
the child’s father turns out to be the target dispatched by a lethal
injection in broad daylight with his confused family looking on. Returning
to Israel, Eyal is hailed a hero, but when he returns to his apartment, he
discovers that his wife has had enough of his killing and committed
suicide. Perhaps ironically, the agent has a genetic defect that
rendered his tear ducts useless; simply put, he is unable to cry.
Faced with despair and put on light duty because he refuses
to seek counseling, Eyal is assigned to track down an aging Nazi war
criminal. To accomplish this, he is assigned to play tour guide to the
man’s grandson Axel (Knut Berger), who arrives in Israel to visit his sister
Pia (Carolina Peters). Pia has severed ties with her family, and as a partial
means of atoning for her family’s dicey past, lives on a kibbutz.
Unhappy with the surveillance assignment, Eyal nonetheless serves
as Axel’s guide and chauffer. As the pair travel around the countryside,
they discuss everything from tastes in music to the Palestinian question.
Axel is liberal and open-minded; Eyal is more closed and rigid. Nonetheless,
a grudging admiration arises between the pair. Until Axel reveals
something the audience has already gleaned – he’s gay. Macho Eyal
cannot accept that (particularly since they shared a communal shower
at the Dead Sea where Axel has tried to attempt the title of the film).
Fed up, he asks to be relieved of the assignment, but his boss (Gideon
Shemer) refuses. Eventually, Eyal must travel to Germany to complete
the mission, where events take a strange turn.
Fox and screenwriter Gal Uchovsky have crafted a very intriguing
movie. It’s a sort of spin on THE ODD COUPLE, with both men finding his
values and ideals challenged as they come to know one another better.
Issues such as the visitation of the sins of the fathers on sons (or grandsons),
homophobia, the Nazi legacy, and the plight of the Palestinians are
There’s a plot twist that actually feels germane and not tacked on,
although the same cannot be said of the film’s epilogue. Many in the
audience at NewFest buzzed after the screening because the epilogue
felt like something of a copout. While watching the film, there was a
growing sexual tension between the two male leads, and one might
have thought that the film would end more in line with Fox's YOSSI
AND JAGGER. Instead, it veers into another direction that felt like a
MPAA rating: R for some language including sexual
references, and for brief nudity
Running time: 104 mins.
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