Sunday, 14 April 2013


Dror Moreh's essential documentary probes issues of morality and security in the modern world with greater reach and greater lucidity than perhaps any film before it. Whether or not it is art, and that must always remain a subjective decision, it is certainly a record of indefinable importance. What is so extraordinary about it is the candour with which its subjects speak - all leaders of the Shin Bet, whose awareness of the magnitude of what they are revealing fails to stifle them. We are receiving information, old but still not irrelevant, familiar but not in such detail, a top secret document completely un-redacted concerning an ongoing true story. Moreh's technique is clear and focused, and his style is deathly serious, thus both encouraging and respecting the content of what is being spoken by these fascinating men. He falters a little in occasionally over-egging the drama, as slick as his efforts may be, but that narration, those words... they suck you in, to the point that you think Michael Bay could have directed this film and it wouldn't have mattered - nothing can detract from the power of those words. The moral and political ambiguity of their roles and the reflection permitted by time enable the men to speak with as much balance and intelligence as authority, and so The Gatekeepers doesn't suffer from its one-sidedness, as it is, indeed, the story of one side. Under such circumstances, it would have been difficult, not to mention inappropriate, for Moreh to pass judgement, but his refusal to do so is laudable, as these matters are far too complex to be categorised so neatly as either right or wrong, and that too must remain a subjective decision for each viewer to make, or even choose to make. You see, this is our world, today. It's not the past. It's how we get by. It's how I am here to write this review, and you are here to read it. So, right or wrong, we have been affected by what is depicted in The Gatekeepers. We are the beneficiaries of these questionable methods, one way or another. Who are we to pass judgement? This film shows that not even those responsible feel in a position to pass judgement.