Yaron is part of an elite group of police officers belonging to an anti-terrorist unit of the Israeli police. He and his companions are the weapon pointed by the state at its opponents, “the Arab enemy.” Yaron loves the male camaraderie and his own muscle-bound body. His wife is about to give birth and he could become a father at any moment. But his meeting a group of violent radicals will force him to suddenly confront a new kind of revolutionaries in Tel Aviv, a Baader Meinhof-like gang of Israeli terrorists (see our REVIEW of The Baader-Meinhof Complex).
Hashoter (Policeman) is the highly imaginative film by a young film auteur named Nadav Lapid. In it, five people, youngsters for the most part, decide that they’ve had enough of the widening gap between rich and poor and attack a rich industrialist as he’s marrying off his daughter. These revolutionaries are cute automatons, most of them borne out of the middle classes. Diffident but steadfast, they quietly organize around the leader, an Adonis who gives out the orders but is also prone to anxiety attacks. At the center of their kamikaze operation, a speech which gets rehearsed over and over again. “It’s time for the poor to get richer and for the rich to die.”
What happened to the cops, you say? That’s the thing about Hashoter, it’s two movies in one. There’s no apparent connection between the two stories, until the end–the baffling and troublesome end.
Lapid has made an exceedingly watchable film for the following reasons: he dared make a highly political film; he’s not afraid of canceling dialogue in favor of a gesture or a glance. There’s an Israeli film which for once is not about the Israelo-Palestinian conflict. In fact, you’ll get served up with some israeli-on-israeli terrorism, and that’s rather unusual since Israel is considered to be a very cohesive country, its unity strengthened by the collective enduring of outside oppression.
Let’s add Hashoter on the shelf next to Eran Kolirin’s The Band’s Visit and Ari Folman’s Waltz with Bashir, exceptional movies all.