The Gatekeepers

2012 | Documentary | In Hebrew with English subtitles | 95 minutes

Info

Directed by Dror Moreh, The Gatekeepers consists of in-depth interviews with six former heads of Shin Bet, Israel’s secret service. The challenge for Moreh was to get these former heads to agree to discuss their work and opinions on camera. None had done this before. Amazingly outspoken, they not only discussed their successes but their failures.

Cast (Participants)
Ami Ayalon / Avraham Shalom / Yuval Diskin / Yaackov Peri / Carmi Gillon / Avi Dichter
Why Stream This Film?
It’s one of the most controversial films ever made on a very bitterly emotional topic, The Israeli/Palestinian conflict. The film would have been quickly dismissed if the participants were political doves. But what makes it so searing and important is that the participants were tough-as-nails retired Shin Bet officers. These are not a looney-fringe group of very naive men. 
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score (Critics Consensus): 94%
  • Metacritic Score: 91
Accolades
  • Academy Awards: Nominated, Best Feature Documentary
  • Los Angeles Film Critics Association: Best Documentary
  • National Board of Review: A top Five Documentary
  • New York Film Critics Circle: Second Place, Best Documentary
  • Manohla Dargis (The New York Times), Joe Morgensten (The Wall Street Journal), David Edelstein (New York Magazine), Kenneth Turan (Los Angeles Times), and Peter Rainer (Christian Science Monitor), called it one of the ten best films of the year.

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The film’s atmosphere is compelling, and another strength is that it is self-critical. These officers offer candid observations, not only assessing the politicians they served, but also their own predecessors’ mishandling of famous events. More than that, they acknowledge that the Palestinians have an opposing narrative.
Omer M. Mozaffar

RogerEbert.com

It is hard to imagine a movie about the Middle East that could be more timely, more painfully urgent, more challenging to conventional wisdom on all sides of the conflict. If you need reassurance or grounds for optimism about the Middle East, you will not find it here. What you will find is rare, welcome, and almost unbearable clarity.
A.O. Scott

The New York Times

THE GATEKEEPERS describes recent history, but it is a contribution to the present dilemma simply because it calls upon the most unlikely people to define it and to urge greater effort. The six former Shin Bet officers were instrumental in defending Israel against all threats and in identifying these threats early enough. They are calm and reasonable, they do not boast or evade. They do not break down or turn into raging tyrants. They did a job and they believed in it.
David Thomson

New Republic

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