Walk on Water

Eytan Fox follows up a Yossi and Jagger, a so-so film about gay Israeli soldiers, with Walk on Water, an ambitious film with a few too many themes. By trying to examine so many things at the same time, Fox (Gotta Have Heart) adds a sense of scope to the film, but is not able to examine any of the various issues with any depth. Eyal (Lior Ashkenazi, Late Marriage, Electricity Man) is a covert agent for the Israeli government. The beginning of Walk on Water finds him successfully completing an assassination only to come home to find his girlfriend committed suicide. After a short respite, he jumps into his next job, locating and assassinating Alfred Himmelman, World War II Nazi who hid in South America for years.

His cover is of a tour guide for Himmelman's grandchildren, Axel (Knut Burger, How to Leave Your Ex, We) and Pia (Caroline Peters, Over Night, 99 Euro Films). Pia lives on a kibbutz in Israel, and Axel is visiting from Berlin. The government believes that the two may have knowledge of Himmelman, and it is Eyal's job to try to glean the information from him. The two are sickeningly friendly, and Eyal finds himself drawn to both of them. Eyal feels that Nazi atrocities are ancient history, and cares little about Himmelman's crimes. At the same time, he is amused with Axel's desire to see both Jewish and Palestinian areas of Israel, and doesn't realize that his innate hatred and prejudice of Arabs does not gel with his indifference towards the crime of the Nazis.

Fox and writer Gal Uchovsky (Gotta Have Heart) want to explore the concept of generational sin. Are Axel and Pia responsible for the sins of their grandfather? Eyal doesn't seem to know, but is using them to try to get to him. As he learns more about their relationship, the line between right and wrong blurs. Moreover, Axel is gay, and Eyal is virulently homophobic. Eyal is also trying to deal with the death of his girlfriend. He sees this assignment as temporary, before he can get back into real jobs.

Fox and Uchovsky set up all these strands, then never pull them together. They seem to run off on tangents for a while, exploring some facets of the characters' personalities, only to draw back before long. It does make Eyal, Pia, and Axel seem more complex, but it does get frustrating how the filmmakers introduce and drop potential threads. The main reason for Eyal's presence is information gathering on Himmelman, but this takes a backseat to other story divergences. The three stars do have good chemistry together and seem very believable, especially Ashkenazi (one of Israel's biggest stars) who plays Eyal with a detached coolness.

Mongoose Rates It: Not Bad.
1 hour, 44 minutes, English, German, and Hebrew with English subtitles, Not Rated but contains language, some violence, and minor nudity, most likely an R.

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