A difficult film to shake.
Guided by a suffocating sense that violence could erupt at any given moment.
A fetching addition to the Israeli panorama.
Tom Shoval’s gripping, haunting feature debut depicts the ill-advised kidnapping scheme of two Israeli brothers (real-life siblings Eitan and David Cunio) from preparation to aftermath. With their father’s unemployment threatening the stability of their comfortable middle-class existence, older brother Yaki takes advantage of his recently acquired assault rifle, courtesy of his compulsory military service, to put into action a plan equally inspired by desperation and a lifelong diet of violent mainstream American cinema. But the brothers might have bitten off more than they can chew: it’s Shabbat, and their victim’s wealthy orthodox family won’t pick up the phone to take the ransom call. This sharply observed study of familial attachment and fraternal psychology broadens into a tough-minded generational portrait that subtly addresses many aspects of contemporary Israeli life, from the role of the military to the recent economic protests to the enduring fault lines of class and gender. ANew Directors/New Films 2014 selection. A Match Factory release.