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Film review: ‘The Gatekeepers’

You could watch the compelling interviews in The Gatekeepers—or you could read a book on the subject. We’d recommend a book.

The Details

The Gatekeepers
Two and a half stars
Directed by Dror Moreh
Rated PG-13, opens Friday
Official Movie Site
IMDb: The Gatekeepers
Rotten Tomatoes: The Gatekeepers

Six former heads of Shin Bet, Israel’s internal security service, candidly discuss their professional lives in Dror Moreh’s dry talkathon The Gatekeepers, one of the nominees for Best Documentary at last month’s Academy Awards. Those merely interested in hearing stories about the country’s often morally dubious struggle to combat terrorism will likely be fascinated—though the same information could be presented in considerably greater depth, and much better contextualized, in the pages of a book. If you’re looking for an example of the art of filmmaking, however, The Gatekeepers has little to offer, operating strictly as a standard-issue mix of talking-head interviews and archival footage. Moreh has compiled a potentially valuable record of these men’s thoughts and memories, not unlike those of the Holocaust survivors recorded by Steven Spielberg in the wake of Schindler’s List, but a bunch of testimonies strung together don’t in and of themselves make for a compelling film.


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Previous Discussion:

  • A balance of strong humor with serious danger and uncertainty with a cast full of great actors.

  • Remarkably, the film gradually neutralizes its apparent protagonist, adding to a harrowing experience.

  • Ken Jeong has had scene-stealing roles as oddball characters, but a little of his manic energy goes a long way.

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