In The Wanted 18, Shomali and Cowan manage to milk (sorry) this story for everything it’s worth, flipping this true tale on its head and reimagining it from the perspective of these potentially golden calves... While this mélange of mediums draws attention to the nature of storytelling itself (a key factor in the ongoing conflict between Palestine and Israel, as each side battles for the dominant narrative of righteous suffering), the mixed-bag method is ultimately distractingly chaotic.
Although the story itself makes for very strong material—it's symbolic and impossible not to read as a microcosmic reflection of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict—the film uses several different ways of telling it by combining light and charming interviews with those involved in the true events, archival footage, Shomali's drawings, black-and-white stop-motion animation as well as re-enactments. The problem is that all these pieces don't always fit.
The film combines animation, live-action reenactments, archival footage and simple but elegant visual metaphors... Its point of view shifts between a mordantly funny voiceover by co-director and illustrator Shomali, beautifully shot interviews with many key players, and the cows themselves, whose increasingly hopeless situation becomes a metaphor for the plight of the Palestinians.