Close To Home

"Good"

Close To Home Review


Two women on the force: One is rebellious and thinks rules are for squares, the other abides by conduct regulations as if they were passed down from Jesus' head office in picturesque Antuckett, Texas. They are the newest recruits to a small faction of the Israeli military, made up entirely of women, and they've just been assigned to duty together. If you're thinking this is the setup to a sequel to 1988's Feds, it's understood, but you're mistaken.

Dalia Hagar and Vidi Bilu's Close to Home has enjoyed (or rather suffered) a long round on the festival circuit and has finally been picked up by indie sharpshooters IFC First Takes. It's not every day that you hear about a female-lead soldier story that looks more like a personal drama. Besides its rather gleeful disinterest in male archetypes, there's a healthy dispassion towards terrorism that is admittedly discomforting but also refreshing.

Smadar (Smadar Sayar) has been taught the ropes by Dana, the most rebellious of the staffers at a border crossing in Jerusalem who gets sent to the brig for allowing women to pass through without getting checked. Mirit (Naama Schendar) is also on hand when Dana gets ousted, but is fresh enough to announce she had nothing to do with the insurrection. As expected, Smadar and Mirit are paired together and take to each other like a ferret and an East Berlin pit viper. Then a terrorist attack almost kills Mirit, sending both into a state of live-and-let-live and eventually into a strong friendship.

Close to Home is at its best when the filmmakers stay on the girls and their training; certain scenes evoke the job-as-ritual meditation of Le Petit Lieutenant. The weaker moments come with Mirit's interest in the man who saved her from the terrorist attack and her constant yearnings for him. Although it's clear that Hagar and Bilu want to show two natural women and two natural women have yearnings for men, there's a false importance given to the relationship since the man was her savior from the attack. It drains her encounters with him of any spontaneity or charm.

Hagar and Bilu build strong characters for their actresses to inhabit, but the narrative has the consistency of a warm bowl of Quaker Oats. The tone of the piece becomes rocky and uneven when the film becomes more interested in Mirit and her newfound love for men. Schendar and Sayar give strikingly natural performances, nuances and all, which gives their relationship a fascinating candor. Certain scenes nail the idea of femininity in the workplace (eg. when the girls catch their commanding officer coming out from a quick nooner while on duty). These moments, however, are not consistent enough for Hagar and Bilu to truly give an honest perspective on females in the workplace and especially the military (though thankfully nobody shaves their head and sticks "G.I." in front of their name). Close to Home's femininity is sincere and powerful, but its essence gets lost in the film's striving for a "message."

Aka Karov La Bayit.

Does this bus go to the DMZ?



Close To Home

Facts and Figures

Run time: 60 mins

In Theaters: Tuesday 4th October 2005

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 3 / 5

IMDB: 6.7 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director: Dalia Hagar, Vidi Bilu

Producer: Itai Tamir, Marek Rozenbaum

Starring: Smadar Sayar as Smadar, Naama Schendar as Mirit, Katia Zinbris as Mirit's Mother, Ami Weinberg as Mirit's Father

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Wind River Movie Review

Wind River Movie Review

After writing the superb Sicario and Hell or High Water, Taylor Sheridan moves back into...

The Vault Movie Review

The Vault Movie Review

Filmmakers Dan Bush and Conal Byrne attempt a mash-up of a frantic heist movie with...

Goon: Last of the Enforcers Movie Review

Goon: Last of the Enforcers Movie Review

The 2012 Canadian comedy Goon was one of those surprising little films that snuck up...

Detroit Movie Review

Detroit Movie Review

After The Hurt Locker and Zero Dark Thirty, Kathryn Bigelow and Mark Boal reteam to...

Logan Lucky Movie Review

Logan Lucky Movie Review

Good news: Steven Soderbergh's well-publicised retirement from directing only lasted about four years. He's back...

American Made Movie Review

American Made Movie Review

An enjoyably freewheeling tone and Tom Cruise's star wattage combine to make this an entertaining...

An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power Movie Review

An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power Movie Review

It's been a decade since Al Gore's wake-up-call documentary won the Oscar. And here he...

Advertisement
The Hitman's Bodyguard Movie Review

The Hitman's Bodyguard Movie Review

It really doesn't matter that this movie is utterly ridiculous, because the central pairing of...

Final Portrait Movie Review

Final Portrait Movie Review

A relaxed, amusing true story about noted Swiss painter and sculptor Alberto Giacometti, this sharply...

Tom of Finland Movie Review

Tom of Finland Movie Review

Finnish artist Tuoko Laaksonen used the name "Tom of Finland" as he drew explicit illustrations...

A Ghost Story Movie Review

A Ghost Story Movie Review

Filmmaker David Lowery reunites the stars from his offbeat Western Ain't Them Bodies Saints for...

Atomic Blonde Movie Review

Atomic Blonde Movie Review

From the co-director of John Wick, this similarly styled action romp puts Charlize Theron front...

Girls Trip Movie Review

Girls Trip Movie Review

This movie's premise basically sounds like The Hangover with added black girl power. But it's...

Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie Movie Review

Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie Movie Review

There's so much manic energy in this animated action comedy that it can't help but...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.