The Gatekeepers

Film Review by Chris Buckle | 07 Aug 2013
  • The Gatekeeper
Film title: The Gatekeepers
Director: Dror Moreh
Starring: Ami Ayalon, Avraham Shalom, Avi Dichter, Yaakov Peri, Yuval Diskin
Release date: 12 Aug
Certificate: 15

Even by intelligence agency standards, Israel’s Shin Bet is a secretive institution, with its ranks anonymous and its accountability murky. The only members whose identities are publicly known are the select few to have occupied the top job of director – a position of power in which every decision has the potential to radically alter the geopolitical landscape. In The Gatekeepers, filmmaker Dror Moreh interviews six former directors, and their candid disclosures are both fascinating and disheartening.

Using source footage, Moreh plots a narrative of powder-keg relations starting with the Six-Day War; a history of assassinations and air strikes, illegal settlements and intifadas. Throughout, the tone is cool and collected (one testy exchange over the killing of handcuffed prisoners aside), with interviewees tending to frame their decisions pragmatically, and demonstrating comparatively little patience for emotional or moral examination (an attitude that in itself is revealing). Committedly averse to drawing glib conclusions, The Gatekeepers is a weighty contribution to an ever-pressing debate. [Chris Buckle]

Released on DVD 12 Aug by Metrodome