Foxtrot Screen 7 articles



Foxtrot Poster
  • Eliding crucial historical distinctions means ignoring the subtle shifts in Israeli policy that have resulted in a long-term Likud power bloc and the collapse of the peace process, and an abandonment of systematic critique on the part of the Israeli left. (Amos Gitai’s films may be boring, but at least they are intellectually rigourous. Maoz is only concerned with high-toned middlebrow respectability. He’s Sam Mendes with tanks.)

  • I face the same dilemma every year: multiple requests for lists of my favorite films of the year, all of them due before I’ve had a chance to see all the contenders. And it looks like the biggest casualty of this process in this year’s roundup has to be Samuel Maoz’s provocative, original, and creatively vexing (at once hilarious and devastating) Israeli feature, FOXTROT, which for me very easily surpasses many of the more popular favorites such as THREE BILLBOARDS… and NORMAN.

  • The movie carries the excitement and punch of a fearless writer-director tackling contemporary material with a bracing cocktail of potent traditional drama, wild black comedy, and serrated style. . . . As Maoz invests signature props and defining actions with contrasting meanings, our hearts and minds expand to take them in.

  • Maoz has an exacting eye. The framing is meticulous; soon it’s also very purposefully working your nerves. Although Michael briefly leaves to tell his mother about Jonathan, much of the movie’s first section unfolds inside the apartment. It’s a cloistered space, made more confining by the tight close-ups of Michael’s face (Mr. Ashkenazi makes mourning palpable in each twitch), his ponderous, near-somnolent movements and several overhead shots of him.

  • Samuel Maoz’s Foxtrot, winner of the Silver Lion after Del Toro, also gave the festival a shot in the arm with its pure energy and faith in setpiece staging and the timely close-up.

  • As we watch, in uncomfortable close-up, the couple’s world come crashing down around them, it’s clear that stark renderings of human suffering remain Maoz’s forte. Ashkenazi is staggering when plumbing the depths of Michael’s despair, and a scene in which he resorts to self-harm is particularly wrenching.

  • If Maoz doesn’t always manage to fully keep up with the fierce rhythm of his own storytelling, he makes up for it with the sheer virtuosity and boldness that brings his film alive. And, more importantly perhaps, Foxtrot never steps into the second-feature trap, but proves once more that the Lebanon director is a force to be reckoned with, at any age.

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