Free Zone

"Good"

Free Zone Review


At the beginning of Free Zone, Amos Gitai's latest incarnation of the Middle East and its misunderstood culture, we sit and watch Natalie Portman hysterically cry for, I shit you not, 15 minutes. If it had been silent, I would have called Gitai some sort of transcendentalist, but instead, we are listening to "Had Gadia," a traditional Israeli song that reeks just a tad of our current war culture. So, why is Gitai so interested in Portman crying, besides the fact that she is right outside the Wailing Wall and she is Natalie Portman? It's a bumpy start, but you've got to be impressed by a guy who studies the architecture of a face in the time it would usually take most filmmakers to initiate the film's plot.While Rebecca (Portman) is crying in back, Hanna (Hanna Laslo) barks from the front for her to get out of the car. They argue, Rebecca pleads, and eventually, Hanna agrees to bring Rebecca along with her on her journey to the Free Zone, an area where shady dealings can go down ungoverned. The journey goes from Jerusalem to Jordan, during which we learn that Rebecca has left her fiancé because of his mother's intolerance of her. They find Leila (Hiam Abbass), an assistant to The American (Makram Khoury), a businessman who owes Hanna a substantial sum of money for her injured husband. Their search for the American leads them to a garden compound, where houses and shacks are being set ablaze, and Rebecca ends up being the only one who meets and talks with the American.Gitai has a lot of original, strong ideas working here. Instead of playing the back story through normal flashbacks, he simultaneously shows the present and the past through superimposition. The effect runs the gamut as far as how convincing it is (it becomes annoying and grating with too long a take) but it's disorienting enough to conjure up the feeling of your mind being somewhere else while the present is happening. Also, Gitai employs long takes, and I mean long takes. After the first 20 to 25 minutes of Rebecca, we are stuck on Hanna for what seems like another 15 to 20. Israeli music being a bit annoying, this technique doesn't work well in the opening shot, but sometimes it has a calming, meditative effect and allows the actresses to really show off their talents.Portman, an actress who often finds herself saddled with trite dialogue (the Star Wars films, the overrated V for Vendetta), does well with her often intrusive close-ups, and though the music dulls the effect, her raging sadness in the opening is hard to shake. Hanna Laslo, who justly won the best actress award at last year's Cannes, is the film's bruised heart, and shows the grit and strength of Israeli women with humor and a certain grace. Though given the least time on screen, Abbass registers just as strongly as she did in last year's Paradise Now, and her dialogues with Laslo are expertly executed. What ultimately keeps the film in limbo is a lack of a third quarter. The film has a decent opening, a very good middle, and then ends on a somewhat ambiguous note (which can be good depending on the film's ultimate goal). In a film that is so concerned and in love with its female characters, Gitai sort of leaves them in a lovable sing-along and doesn't really think of the available reach and conclusion to these three extraordinary women.


Free Zone

Facts and Figures

Run time: 90 mins

In Theaters: Friday 7th April 2006

Distributed by: New Yorker Films

Production compaines: SCOPE Invest

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 3 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 26%
Fresh: 12 Rotten: 34

IMDB: 5.9 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Producer: , Michael Tapuah, Laurent Truchot

Starring: as Rebecca, Hana Laszlo as Hanna Ben Moshe, Hiam Abbass as Leila, as Mrs. Breitberg, Makram Khoury as Samir aka "The American", Aki Avni as Julio, Uri Ran Klauzner as Moshe Ben Moshe, as Security A, Tomer Russo as Security B, Adnan Tarabshi as Gas Salesman, Shredi Jabarin as Oasis Man

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.