Foxtrot 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
OPENING THIS WEEK Kam’s Kapsules Weekly Previews That Make Choosing a Film Fun For movies opening March 9, 2018
BIG BUDGET FILMS
Gringo (R for sexuality, violence and pervasive profanity) Action comedy set south of the border where a medical Marijuana salesman (David Oyelowo) is forced to survive by his wits after being kidnapped by a ruthless, Mexican drug cartel. With Charlize Theron, Joel Edgerton, Thandie Newton and Amanda Seyfried. (In English, Spanish and French with subtitles.)
The Hurricane Heist (PG-13 for action, violence, destruction, profanity and suggestive material) Action thriller about a gang of computer hackers who conspire to steal $600 million from the U.S. Treasury during a Category 5 hurricane. Featuring Maggie Grace, Toby Kebbell and Ryan Kwanten.
The Strangers: Prey at Night (R for profanity, terror and violence) Horror sequel about a family that finds itself staked by three masked psychopaths (Emma Bellomy, Damian Maffei and Lea Enslin) after being stranded at a secluded, mobile home park. Co-starring Christina Hendricks, Martin Henderson, Bailee Madison and Lewis Pullman.
A Wrinkle In Time (PG for peril and mature themes) Ava DuVernay adapted this coming-of-age fantasy from Madeleine L’Engle’s children’s novel of the same name revolving around a young girl (Storm Reid) who, accompanied by a classmate (Levi Miller), her little brother (Deric McCabe) and three astral travelers (Oprah Winfrey, Mindy Kaling and Reese Witherspoon), embarks on an epic quest to a distant planet in search of her missing scientist father (Chris Pine). With Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Michael Pena and Zach Galifianakis.
INDEPENDENT & FOREIGN FILMS
The Forgiven (Unrated) Truth and reconciliation drama, set in South Africa after the fall of the Apartheid regime, revolving around Archbishop Desmond Tutu’s (Forest Whitaker) meeting with a confessed murderer (Eric Bana) seeking redemption. Cast includes Jeff Gum, Terry Norton and Rob Gough.
Itzhak (Unrated) Reverential biopic chronicling the life and times of Itzhak Perlman, who became a world-renowned classical violinist despite contracting polio at the age of 4.
The Leisure Seeker (R for sexuality and mature themes) Adaptation of Michael Zadoorian’s bittersweet best seller about a couple of ailing octogenarians (Helen Mirren and Donald Sutherland) who ignore doctor’s orders to embark on a final cross-country trip in their trusty RV. With Kirsty Mitchell, Janet Moloney and Joshua Mikel.
Thoroughbreds (R for profanity, sexual references, drug use, bloody images and disturbing behavior) Suspense thriller, set in suburban Connecticut, about a couple of privileged BFFs (Olivia Cooke and Anya Taylor-Joy) who bring out the worst in each when they reunite as troubled teens after spending years apart. With Paul Sparks, Francie Swift and the late Anton Yelchin.