The Gatekeepers is a quietly powerful film; it doesn’t clobber you over the head. Yet from the moment you hear one of these former insiders admitting his misgivings over an act of violence he perpetrated, you can’t help but be drawn in. No matter where you stand on the issues facing Israel and Palestine, you can’t deny the qualifications of these interviewees to express informed opinions.
Each of the six men who led Israel’s equivalent of the CIA over the last thirty years is an individual. It’s left to us to draw our own conclusions about their distinctive personalities and how each one expresses himself. The cumulative effect of their candor is devastating. I don’t want to undermine the power of this film by describing or paraphrasing what they have to say.
Director and interviewer Moreh, a former cinematographer, uses archival footage and sophisticated computer-generated animation to illustrate many of the volatile incidents his subjects describe. Unlike most recreations in documentary films, these sequences seem chillingly real. Lives are at stake, and there is nothing more compelling than that.
The Gatekeepers has already caused a stir in Israel. Moreh wants to open a conversation about Israel’s role in the Middle East, and his film certainly does that. It is a remarkable piece of work.