Rated: R for some sexual content including graphic images, and brief drug use. Reviewed by: Jim Release date: December 8, 2017 Released by: Sony Pictures Classics
A lacerating indictment on celluloid is Samuel Maoz's lyrical and controversial Foxtrot which begins and ends in a Tel-Aviv high-rise.
It's an Israeli import funded by its government but denigrated by many for its stance or mindset on its current state with no end in sight from being "in the line of duty."
A symbolic, surreal piece includes the familial, fellow combatants, and sorrow in a compelling manner, shifting from disorientation to anarchy with absurd levity that has quite an emotional impact for those willing to make the investment.
The Feldmans — Michael (Lior Ashkenazi) and Dafna (Sarah Adler) — a middle-aged couple get harrowing news at the outset about their son Jonathan (Yonatan Shiray) that hits hard in different ways. As the reporting soldiers report to Michael of impending arrangements while Dafna is sedated, the searing pain is truly palpable.
The middle of a triptych includes a quartet of Israeli infantrymen patrolling the desert border, including Jonathan, at the titular checkpoint. The young adults deal with the tedium working out of a makeshift van (painted ice-cream truck) and rest in a sizable shipping container that is slowly sinking in the middle of nowhere. A rifle and a camel are featured in this section to provide an unusual aura, whether as a partner or passing by a security gate. But, when Palestinians enter this area the end result after debasement is just like what Michael felt when locked in the bathroom putting his hands under a hot faucet.
Finally, the domestic discord wraps up an austere, lushly mounted tale (artistic and metaphorical through interior and exterior imagery) where like the eponymous dance it has to wind up where it began. An indignation from Maoz's charged way with the material may be justified by an underlying desire for compassion and reform like putting a square peg in a round hole. The traumas of war are dealt with in a poignant way, vividly expressed by a country's remarkable thespian in Ashkenazi. He manages to make a difficult, devastating process personally vital as a microcosm for a greater entity slowly losing its soul.