Entertainment Entertainment Movies

'The Gatekeepers' review: Important and incomplete

**1/2 (out of four)

Before the Oscar-nominated documentary “The Gatekeepers,” members of Israel’s secret service known as the Shin Bet had never given interviews. So why were they willing to participate in this film? Why is it now OK to give an inside look into former missions and the feelings of the former heads of the operation?

Director Dror Moreh’s film does not answer these questions, nor does it do a particularly good job of providing context for the never-ending conflict between Israel and Palestine. Moreh relies primarily on the stories of, and his own interviews with, six former heads of the Shin Bet. This alternately provides fascinating accounts of ethical complexity, such as a case in which a rare attempt to consider collateral damage resulted in nearly all the targets surviving, and thinly sketched observations that require a lot more information about who these guys are, how they were chosen and what it was like to be in the organization.

“The Gatekeepers” poses difficult questions about the luxury of a moral high ground against an enemy that delights in the creation of suffering, but it does not feel nearly as nuanced or well-researched as “Zero Dark Thirty.” It’s impossible not to respond to accounts of the Shin Bet trying to deter the orders of extremist rabbis or stories of inaccurate intelligence that leads to the deaths of innocents.

Yet the film is lacking enough in information that I couldn’t help but look at one elderly former head of the Shin Bet and think, “People may have been scared of you then, but the only frightening thing about you now is the hair leaping out of your nose.” It doesn't derail the movie or anything, but producers really should have demanded those weeds be cut before shooting.

Watch Matt on “You & Me This Morning,” Friday at 6:55 a.m. on WCIU, the U



Want more? Discuss this article and others on RedEye's Facebook page.


Copyright © 2015, RedEye
Related Content
  • Oklahoma fraternity's racist chant learned on a cruise
    Oklahoma fraternity's racist chant learned on a cruise

    Members of a University of Oklahoma fraternity apparently learned a racist chant that recently got their chapter disbanded during a national leadership cruise four years ago that was sponsored by the fraternity's national administration, the university's president said Friday.

  • In NYC building collapse, mayor cites 'inappropriately' tapped gas line; 2 missing
    In NYC building collapse, mayor cites 'inappropriately' tapped gas line; 2 missing

    Someone may have improperly tapped a gas line before an explosion that leveled three apartment buildings and injured nearly two dozen people, Mayor Bill de Blasio said Friday as firefighters soaked the still-smoldering buildings and police searched for at least two missing people.

  • Construction ongoing at Wrigley Field
    Construction ongoing at Wrigley Field

    From bleachers to structural details, work to renovate Wrigley Field continues.

  • Emanuel uses borrowing to cope with Daley's debt burden
    Emanuel uses borrowing to cope with Daley's debt burden

    Mayor Rahm Emanuel has reduced spending and increased fines, fees and certain taxes to shrink the chronic budget deficits left over from his predecessor, Richard M. Daley.

  • Six Flags Great America's lost attractions
    Six Flags Great America's lost attractions

    Not every ride's the Willard's Whizzer. That iconic coaster debuted in 1976 when Marriott's Great America, now Six Flags Great America, in Gurnee, Ill., first opened. And it's still popular today. But for every Whizzer there's a Tidal Wave, Shockwave or Z-Force, rides existing only in memory.

  • Denim's just getting started
    Denim's just getting started

    Five years ago, denim-on-denim defied all of the dire warnings in the "Undateable" handbook: Instead of evoking John Denver or Britney Spears in her misstyled youth, chambray shirts paired with darker blue jeans became as cool as actor Johnny Depp and street-style heroine Alexa Chung.