“The Gatekeepers,” Like “The Fog of War,” Takes a Hard Look at Violence and Its Consequences


The Gatekeepers (Dror Moreh, 2012)

I must apologize for two things:

  1. Not watching this film earlier (it was the only 2012 Oscar-nominated film I hadn’t yet seen).
  2. Not writing a longer review (I make up for it by being – hopefully – concise and precise).

Here is my review:

Like Errol Morris’s The Fog of War, The Gatekeepers is a documentary that takes a hard and critical look at military/intelligence actions and their consequences. In that earlier film, the thoughtful subject was former US. Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara. In this new film (one of the 5 Oscar-nominated documentaries from last year), the subjects are the 6 living former heads of the Shin Bet, Israel’s intelligence agency in charge of terrorism prevention, and they are all just as thoughtful and reflective as was McNamara. Agree or disagree with them or their actions – and they don’t all agree with each other – it is hard to accuse them of not being experts in their field. What emerges from their collective voice is a complicated (and depressing) portrait of modern Israel. And while their mood may be dour and their outlook grim, perhaps the single biggest silver lining in their cloud of dread may be that such men – men who understand that actions have consequences – exist and are given this great responsibility. A must-see movie.

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