Ran Danker’s tormented Israeli sniper could have occupied his own pic.
RESTLESS (Amos Kollek). 100 minutes. Subtitled. Opens Friday (November 28). For venues and times, see Movies. Rating: NNN
A film about the men trapped in the liminal spaces between patriotism and dissent, Restless tells a familiar yarn but remains engaging thanks to its central performances.
A hunched Moshe Ivgy stars as Moshe, a former Israeli soldier who abandoned his family and country to live in Manhattan. Now a crooked street vendor, he turns his self-pitying demeanour into an underground poetry act that gains an audience among other displaced and drunken Israelis.
Under director Amos Kollek, the film's disparate plot strands never cohere into a satisfactory whole. Moshe's dalliances with American women - a geriatric and an irritable U.S. soldier among them - feel awkward. Also, scenes where he's confined to a small tub to bathe and wash the dishes at the same time, or where he's moaning about Israel while doing the deed with a prostitute, speak loads but feel heavy-handed.
The film is practically glued together by Ivgy's revelatory performance and an intriguing parallel plot involving Moshe's estranged son, Tzach (fresh-faced Ran Danker).
A tormented Israeli sniper who loves to hate his absent father, Tzach's ordeal gives the film emotional and political heft - so much so that he could have occupied his own film.