1 September 2023.
The multi award-winning, indefatigable Helen Mirren is once again exceptional (and unrecognisable) in this film about Israel’s female prime-minister, Golda Meir. The ingenuity of this semi-biopic is that it concentrates mainly on the short but deadly 1973 Yom Kippur war when Israel was attacked on two fronts by Syria and Egypt, and Golda had to shoulder all the responsibilities and decisions.
Directed by the Israeli Guy Nattiv, the film feels at times like a documentary, with sharp editing, some archival footage and clarifying information on the dates, personalities and events pertaining to that fateful year.
Beyond the historical and political considerations – Golda’s relationship with Henry Kissinger or the support of Russia for the Arab states – director Nattiv takes us into the private moments of Golda’s leadership. We feel her complete devotion to her country and her people, her ongoing cancer treatments during that time while she persisted with her chain smoking, her terrible bouts of doubt and fear, yet her incredible determination and strength of character in the crucial, decisive moments, dealing with her cabinet and her generals.
This is a moving film that is both personal and historical, done with great respect for a remarkable leader who happened to be a woman. This is one not to miss!
(Showing only at the Cine17)
THE EQUALIZER 3 **1/2
The man who stands for justice is back, and Denzel Washington makes him both human and patient, despite his brutality when he takes vengeance on the evil-doers. For that’s what he does – he makes things equal and fair, and we can’t help but feel satisfaction and root for his fierce brilliance and his innate sense of justice.
But then, part of the excitement is also due to the stylistic choices of Antoine Fuqua, the director who in 2014 started the Equalizer franchise alongside Denzel.
Fuqua creates moments of calm and sweetness, then unleashes the blood and retribution against the really bad guys, this time down in southern Italy, where the various offshoots of the Mafia or Camorra terrorise the decent citizens trying to live a normal life. And Denzel won’t stand for it, seeing the people he’s come to care for being victimised by these vicious criminals. When he is equalizing, you wouldn’t want to be on the wrong side!
It’s fast and furious, with Fuqua giving us a shrieking background music whenever the deadly action begins. It’s thrilling and absorbing, until he goes too far into unreality – the good guys too good, the bad ones all ready for hell in their depravity. But Denzel saves the day with his utter coolness.
For balance, there’s Dakota Fanning as a CIA operative who gets pulled into the terrifying situation around Naples and the picturesque, idyllic-seeming town of Altamonte. Actually, she and Denzel have a long history together, for they were costars way back in “Man on Fire”, when Denzel played the bodyguard to Dakota’s little girl in Tony Scott’s film from 2004.
THE BOOK CLUB – THE NEXT CHAPTER *
If you’re curious about these once fine actresses – Diane Keaton, Jane Fonda (oh, those facelifts!), Candice Bergen and Mary Steenburgen – go ahead and see this film about a foursome of aging ladies on a European bachelorette holiday.
But if you’re expecting a good script, decent acting and worthwhile comedy, you will be cringing through the awful dialogue, stereotypical views of Italy and those Hollywood-invented, gooey relationships. (News flash – Don Johnson and Andy Garcia are aging well.)
Leave the poor men at home.
Superb **** Very Good *** Good ** Mediocre * Miserable – no stars
Neptune Ravar Ingwersen reviews film extensively for publications in Switzerland. She views 4 to 8 films a week and her aim is to sort the wheat from the chaff for readers.