Bethlehem

Film, Drama
3 out of 5 stars
Bethlehem

Time Out says

3 out of 5 stars

Densely plotted by director Yuval Adler and Ali Wakad (the former Israeli, the latter Palestinian), this informant crime drama finds admirable complexity in the folds of its shifting allegiances—even if you’ve seen this dynamic done better in movies like The Departed. Sanfur (Shadi Mar’i) is the teenage younger brother of a high-level Palestinian militia leader. In recent years, though, he’s been lured from the fold by Razi (Tsahi Halevi), an intense Shin Bet agent who comes to rely on the youth for intel. Undeniably, Sanfur represents more than just a gold mine to his secret handler; Razi sees him as a confused kid and can’t help but reach out in a parental way, a thematic subtlety enhanced by the aloof nature of Sanfur’s actual family, wrapped up in the cause.

Adler dips into Bourne-like chase sequences and introduces a raft of supporting voices (political spokesmen, dirty cops, suicide bombers), but the meat of his movie is the personal bond between the two main characters. Occasionally, that essence gets lost in Bethlehem’s ambitious scope; you almost wish it were playing out on a simple stage with just two actors and a rapt, live audience. Mar’i and Halevi invest deeply, but the film manipulates them to an abrupt end; viewers will undoubtedly supply their own opinions about the cynical game of covert warfare.

Follow Joshua Rothkopf on Twitter: @joshrothkopf

Posted:

Details

Release details

Duration:
99 mins

Cast and crew

Director:
Yuval Adler
Screenwriter:
Yuval Adler, Ali Wakad
Cast:
Tsahi Halevi
Shadi Mar'i
Hitham Omari