Walk On Water
by: Caroline Westbrook - Last updated: 2005-07-06
Walk on Water
The latest film from American-Israeli director Eytan Fox, Walk On Water (15) has already been a hit with audiences across the world, becoming the most successful Israeli movie of all time in the US and winning the Audience Award at the Washington Jewish Film Festival.
Now UK audiences have their own chance to see what the fuss is about and those who do have the chance to check out this low-budget thriller won't be disappointed.
The film centres on Eyal (Lior Ashkenazi) a Mossad hitman whose latest task is to track down and kill an ageing Nazi war criminal who is in hiding. He attempts to trace his would-be victim by befriending his grandson Axel (Knut Berger), posing as a tour guide while he visits his sister in Israel. However, Eyal suffers a crisis of conscience after the pair become unexpectedly close and when he travels to Berlin to complete the job (believing that the old man will resurface at his son's birthday party) he is unsure whether he can go through with it.
What follows is a tense and surprisingly touching thriller as the seemingly cold killer is forced to wrestle with personal tragedy (namely, his wife's suicide) and his own conscience. It's helped by an intelligent script (written by Gal Uchovsky) and great performances from the male leads and while the underlying theme of Israel's attitude towards Germany and its past is ever-present, it's never allowed to dominate the action. If anything, the German characters find their past harder to come to terms with than the Israeli ones do the central character confronts his own stereotypes and discovers that modern Germany is a very different place from the Germany of World War II.
Ultimately though, this works best as a study of friendship and as a tense thriller one which entertains even as it makes you think. The fact that it's mainly in English (with some Israeli and German dialogue, subtitled in English), helps too. Well worth seeing.