2012 | Documentary | In Hebrew with English subtitles | 95 minutes
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.
Why Stream This Film?
- Rotten Tomatoes Score (Critics Consensus): 94%
- Metacritic Score: 91
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.
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.
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.
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