Sunday, June 7, 2020

Israel Film Center Festival Spotlight: Mossad

I’m pleased to be covering the 8th Annual Israel Film Center Festival at the Marlene Meyerson JCC Manhattan, which is running virtually June 7th-14th.

Directed by Alon Gur Arye
Available June 7 – June 14

The more popular a movie or series is, the more likely it is to be parodied. That which is positively embraced by the masses ends up being ripe for mockery, even if it’s simply a way for people to have fun with a concept that, when presented dramatically, works pretty well. There is also plenty about real life that can be turned into comedy, particularly if certain rumors and suppositions exist and can be fleshed out into more absurd cinematic representations. The results are rarely free of stupidity, but if approached in the right way, they have the capability to be quite funny.

Guy (Tsahi Halevi) is an agent with the Mossad who, along with his colleague Aaron (Tal Friedman), is stripped of his rank after a mission to rescue his boss Shuki (Dvir Benedek) goes awry. When he is unable to find purpose in his everyday civilian life, Guy is approached by Sharon (Adi Himelbloy), the wife of a kidnapped executive (Jack Sattelberg), to help get him back from his abductors. Guy teams with a CIA agent sent to aid the search, Linda (Efrat Dor), who has trouble getting the Mossad to take her seriously, as they battle idiotic behavior exhibited by both the good guys and the bad guys.

This film opens by grounding itself as a send-up of the James Bond movies that is distinctly Israeli, with its signature agent realizing he doesn’t have his gun and making the Israeli hand gesture for “just a second.” Guy immediately seeks out the more challenging options in each situation, refusing the help of a local woman who claims to know a shortcut to his imprisoned boss and instead insisting that he would rather go through the bad guys than around them. Like “Blazing Saddles” and other parodies, this film isn’t concerned with breaking the fourth wall and inserting humorous devices like having a character climb under the framing of the scene or literally pushing play on the musical soundtrack that serves as the score.

This isn’t necessarily an intelligent movie, but it’s one that’s enjoyable and clearly most interested in providing a fun experience. There aren’t many comedic moments left unexploited, and every character, including the clearly smarter American agent, is an equal target. This cast is having a blast, and though the film’s plot tends towards the truly inane as the film goes on, Halevi, who stars in “Fauda,” and Dor, a recent addition to “The Flash,” give each scene their all. As a disarming distraction from more serious realities and as a parody of so many over-the-top action flicks, this film serves its purpose.


1 comment:

Darshika said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.