KIDON | MOVIE REVIEW

Today is the big day, official starting day of the Australia Israel Cultural Exchange (AICE) Israeli Film Festival  in Sydney (started in Canberra on the 19th). In following on from our reviews from the festival of THE KINDERGARTEN TEACHER and NEXT TO HER aka AT LI LAYLA we give you our next review from a great film from the festival to grab tickets to… KIDON. We will be reviewing a selection of their films, they all look fantastic, and you can catch the AICE Israeli Film Festival all around Australia commencing 19th August and going through to September 7th (see their website for further details and to purchase tickets). Kernel Andrew reviews this fun film. It runs for 89mins and has a festival rating (it looks MA15+ish). Enjoy Andrew’s review below…….all the best…….JK. 

 

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KIDON | SALTY POPCORN MOVIE REVIEW FOR AICE ISRAELI FILM FESTIVAL | MOVIE POSTER

 

REVIEW BY ANDREW BRUSENTSEV

KIDON, I cannot say that I am intimately familiar with Israeli cinema as a whole. I have seen my fair share and this is the second Israeli Film Festival I have had the pleasure of attending. What people may find surprising is that Israelis do crime capers very well. KIDON is one of these. It literally means “tip of the spear” or in modern parlance “bayonet” in Hebrew. It is also the name given to Mossad’s extra judicial “assassination units”. These units terminate targets of the Israeli State with extreme prejudice.

Sound like a serious sober topic. But never fear, writer/director Emmanuel Naccache has pulled off not a serious movie but rather a throwback to the days of the caper comedy. Think the original OCEAN’S 11. There is a big cast filled with very pretty males and females, more turns than a liquorice twist and a real sense of fun and action infused throughout. Is it perfect? No not at all. Sometimes it seems as if the dialogue will weigh the movie down. But to everyone’s credit the movie is rescued by some genuine surprises and great laughs.

 

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KIDON | SALTY POPCORN MOVIE REVIEW FOR AICE ISRAELI FILM FESTIVAL

 

French-born Naccache was apparently inspired by real life events, after the assassination of a terrorist in Dubai in 2010. Many believe that it was one of Mossad’s Kidon units that were deployed and are responsible for the termination. But as usual there has been no confirmation or denial.

This is the background with which KIDON starts out. Real news reports of this particular termination play on the screen bringing the audience up to speed. The first twist in the film is that actually Mossad have had nothing to do with this operation? Staple Israeli actor Sasson Gabbai plays Yair Yitzhaki, the main intelligence officer, charged with getting to the bottom of it all. He, along with his team, is scrambling to figure out what to do with the dramatic turn of events they are seeing played out on the TV cameras and social media. His team include Israeli regulars – Menashe Noy, Liran Levo and Haim Zinati. To assist with the matter they are joined by a smart mouthed police liaison officer Orna (Raymonde Amsellem).

 

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KIDON | SALTY POPCORN MOVIE REVIEW FOR AICE ISRAELI FILM FESTIVAL

 

But this is not the film’s main focus. The focus is a very charismatic suave and ultra-cool counterfeiter Daniel Levy (Tomer Sisley). We meet Daniel in bed with the French ambassador’s wife (Elodie Hesme). He leaves the bedroom and goes straight to a meeting with her husband, the French ambassador (Hippolyte Girardot). He is trying to broker a deal to sell the Dubai terrorist’s laptop to France. The linkage to Dubai has been made through Daniel. Was he responsible?

In true 60’s style we are then introduced to the rest of Daniel’s “team”. Eric (Lionel Abelanski), who runs a brothel and makes counterfeit Viagra; a French hacker known as Facebook (Kev Adams); and, the movie’s big draw, at least in Israel, Einav, a young student played by supermodel Bar Refaeli. The Dubai terrorist (Shredi Jabarin) also makes a brief appearance.

Have the “team” plotted this killing in order to get hold of a laptop worth hundreds of millions? Or is it something else? This is when things get more complicated. This laptop is an item wanted by most foreign intelligence agencies and the Mossad. Everyone wants to cash in on the team’s success. But who will the team sell it to? The Mossad quickly determine the team’s location and bring them in. They want the laptop and begin to exert pressure. But who is playing whom?

 

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KIDON | SALTY POPCORN MOVIE REVIEW FOR AICE ISRAELI FILM FESTIVAL | EINAV (BAR REFAELI)

 

What starts out as a “plausible” story becomes less and less so. But if that worries you then this movie is not for you. The fun and hijinks are ramped up to the maximum early on. A few of the actors really grab the over the top nature of the movie and really ramp up the histrionics which kind of jars at you after a while. Some of the dialogue and delivery also falls flat threatening to derail the proceedings. But it is rescued by some fine twists.

From press reports I have read about this movie many were wondering would this movie launch Bar Refaeli as an actress. Well does it? Not really. Does she smile and look amazing? Of course, she is a supermodel. But her acting chops are neither any better nor any worse than a bevy of great looking models turned actresses.

After a while you realise that there is not much meet below the surface of this movie and although there were a few tantalising possibilities probed by Naccache at the beginning they are not developed. But that’s not really the point of the film. The movie loses the plot points half way through before finishing with a very strong enjoyable ending.

If you are looking for some escapist fun, doesn’t mind a movie in two languages (Hebrew and French) then I would thoroughly recommend KIDON.

 

3 and a Half Pops