Israeli Couple Grieves Loss of Soldier Son in Poignant, Deliberately-Paced Drama
Michael (Lior Ashkenazi) and Dafna Feldmann (Sarah Adler) live in Tel Aviv with their daughter Alma (Shira Haas). They also have a son, Jonathan (Yonaton Shiray), who is a Staff Sergeant serving at a remote border outpost located somewhere in the Sinai desert.
He’s a member of an army unit code-named “Foxtrot” whose job is to thoroughly search the cars of Palestinians coming into Israel. Their assignment is mostly uneventful, which is why Jonathan breaks the monotony by drawing cartoons and dancing with his rifle, fantasizing that the gun is an attractive young woman.
Unfortunately, his parents’ lives are shattered the day members of the Israeli military show up at the door unannounced to regretfully inform them that their son has died in the line of duty. Dafna faints while Michael goes into shock. Luckily, the soldiers assigned to this grim detail are well trained in assisting the grief-stricken relatives of their fallen comrades.
They quickly sedate Dafna and explain to her husband how they will handle all of the funeral arrangements. That proves quite necessary, since both of the Feldmanns remain detached from reality for the foreseeable future.
That is the poignant premise of Foxtrot, a deliberately-paced drama written and directed by Samuel Maoz (Lebanon), a film featuring a trio of distinctly different acts. The first revolves around Michael and Dafna’s aforementioned reaction to receiving news of the tragedy.
The second scenario is set in the desert where we observe Jonathan’s unit at work and play. And the final tableau unfolds back at the Feldmanns’ home where we now witness a marriage in crisis coming apart at the seams.
Alternately heartrending, surreal and thought-provoking, Foxtrot is essentially an anxiety-inducing depiction of the loss of a child with a mind-bending twist tossed in for good measure.
Excellent (4 stars)
Rated R for sexuality, graphic images and brief drug use
Running time: 113 minutes
In Hebrew and German with subtitles
Production Studios: Bord Cadre Films
Distributor: Sony Pictures Classics
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