"Waltz with Bashir"
Directed by Ari Folman.
Written by Ari Folman.
Starring the voices of Folman and many other real-life subjects.
Release Year: 2008
Review Date: 2/1/09
It is difficult to categorize "Waltz with
Bashir", but it's really easy to say this much: this is a friggin'
Nominated for the 2009 Best Foreign Film
Oscar (apparently the first animated foreign film to be nominated in
this category), "Waltz with Bashir" is an animated documentary mixed
with dramatic--and occasionally, comedic--retellings of events
surrounding the fighting between Israeli soldiers and Palestinian
soldiers in Lebanon in the early 1980s, ending with the Israeli
massacre of Palestinian civilians in a couple of locations in
Lebanon. Told from the standpoint of the film's director, Ari
Folman (who fought on the Israeli side in this conflict), we follow
his research in 2006 and 2007 as he reconnects with others who he
thinks he fought with way back when...another issue, since Folman is
having a tough time remembering these events, since he did such a
good job of blocking them out of his mind. He interviews a
couple of other squadmates, his commanding officer, a reporter and
others to gather information, all the while coloring his interviews
with sequences that re-imagine what happened on the battlefield.
It's safe to say that you haven't seen a
film like "Waltz with Bashir"; even recent films like
were based on real-life events but didn't employ the voices of the
real people involved or go off on random tangents that help make the
film really move. I loved the animation style of "Waltz with
Bashir"; I loved a couple of the funnier bits, especially a number
based on the dirty films that one CO watches from his hotel room
while informing Folman of the death of a key figure; I loved the
ending; I loved the soundtrack. But, it's the story that had
me, because I really don't have a background in the war that took
place in Lebanon, so this was fresh material for me and it was a
very strong format in which to tell this story.
"Waltz with Bashir" is something worth
sitting through; in the dog days of January, you can be sure that
pickens will be slim, so get out there and make it happen!
Rating: Opening Weekend
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Bellview Rating System:
"Opening Weekend": This is
the highest rating a movie can receive. Reserved for movies that
exhibit the highest level of acting, plot, character development,
setting...or Salma Hayek. Not necessarily in that order.
"$X.XX Show": This price
changes each year due to the inflation of movie prices; currently,
it is the $9.50 Show. While not technically perfect, this is a
movie that will still entertain you at a very high level.
"Undercover Brother" falls into this category; it's no "Casablanca",
but you'll have a great time watching. The $9.50 Show won't win any
Oscars, but you'll be quoting lines from the thing for ages (see
"Matinee": An average movie
that merits no more than a $6.50 viewing at your local theater.
Seeing it for less than $9.50 will make you feel a lot better about
yourself. A movie like "Blue Crush" fits this category; you leave
the theater saying "That wasn't too bad...man, did you see that
Lakers game last night?"
"Rental": This rating
indicates a movie that you see in the previews and say to your
friend, "I'll be sure to miss that one." Mostly forgettable, you
couldn't lose too much by going to Hollywood Video and paying $3 to
watch it with your sig other, but you would only do that if the
video store was out of copies of "Ronin." If you can, see this
movie for free. This is what your TV Guide would give "one and a
"Hard Vice": This rating is
the bottom of the barrel. A movie that only six other human beings
have witnessed, this is the worst movie I have ever seen. A Shannon
Tweed "thriller," it is so bad as to be funny during almost every
one of its 84 minutes, and includes the worst ending ever put into a
movie. Marginally worse than "Cabin Boy", "The Avengers" or
"Leonard, Part 6", this rating means that you should avoid this
movie at all costs, or no costs, EVEN IF YOU CAN SEE IT FOR FREE!
(Warning: strong profanity will be used in all reviews of "Hard