Friday, February 22, 2013

The Gatekeepers (2012)

Director: Dror Moreh. 95 min. Rated PG-13. Israel/France/Germany/Belgium. Documentary.

Year 2012 was a great time for documentaries, and The Gatekeepers is one that excels. Six previous Shin Bet chiefs are interviewed, about their experiences running the organization previously known as the Mossad, during the past 30 years. The result is dizzying: how moral ambiguity has become the norm, how friend is no longer discernible from foe, how Israel (as one ex-chief says) is winning every battle ... but losing the war. Reminiscent of the McNamara documentary, Fogs of War, the sobering lessons here merely demonstrate what a bottomless pit the Israel-Arab conflict is. Guaranteed to shake you up.

Mo says:


  1. Absolutely fascinating. I drove a long distance to see this movie in one theater that was showing it while I was traveling, and it was totally worth it. One thing that struck me is that to the Israelis' credit, at least they are honest about the mind-boggling ethical dilemmas they are faced with, and the morally questionable choices they are forced to make. It's sad that the Palestenian side has allegedly lowered its definition of victory to just making the Israelis suffer. As a result, this other memorable quote: "Finally, after 50 years, we have reached a balance of power."

  2. I watched it for the second time ... last night! Again, I found so many concepts memorable, most prominently: Victory is not conquering the enemy, but reaching a better political reality. This concept alone can be such a powerful tool in day-to-day life, both at a small personal level, and in a large country-wide/political scale.

    The director mentions in his NPR interview that he's trying to hold up a mirror in front of Israel, to show why their efforts are not working. That's where the power of the documentary lies.