Zero Motivation: Israeli Women In Uniform…With Guns!

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Reviewed by Henry Shires

Coming out of the preview of this amazing first film by new female Israeli writer director Talya Lavie took me back thirty long years to the almost visceral thrill, while working for the London Film Festival, of first seeing Quentin Tarantino’s ‘Reservoir Dogs’.

Not that, I hasten to add, despite the subtitle I have assigned it, this is an emotional adolescent Tarantino, or far worse his best buddy Rodriquez, splatter fest. Or, though undoubtedly a sexy film, neither is this an early Jonathan Demme style “women behind bars” sexploiter.

Sure the cast just happen to be almost all attractive young Israeli women. In uniform (the film is entirely set in the contemporary Israeli army). And attractive as only Israeli women in uniform can be. And, on several occasions at least, they get to brandish and fire automatic weapons.

But these factors are purely incidental to what is a uniquely original, comic, yet at the same time deathly serious surprise hit movie (Best Narrative Feature Award at the 2014 Tribeca Film Festival). With an all female ensemble cast of wonderfully written and acted contemporary Israeli characters. By a first time, female director, who here ably demonstrates the wit, wisdom and vision lacking in the current work of many more established and successful Hollywood auteurs.

One part gender reversed ‘M*A*S*H’, one part Israeli ‘Full Metal Jacket’, one part female ‘Three Kings’. I don’t want to give away any of the delicious female, Israeli or ‘Privates On Parade’ jokes or quirky and creative plots twists and turns by telling you any of the highly skilfully and sensitively crafted story.

But, suffice to say, it would have been worth the price of admission alone (had I had to pay) for the now infamous female office stationary duel scene. Which actually is pretty Tarantino…if Tarantino had been writing in Officeworks!

Plenty of food for thought about the current deadlock in the Middle East. And a movie with plenty of tasty but still deeply feminist performances at its heart. And women in uniform. Firing guns. And staple guns!

What more could you want?

SHOWING EXCLUSIVELY AT THE LIDO CINEMAS (owned by the Classic Elsternwick) Glenferrie Road, Hawthorn from June 25th

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