Dir.: Dror Moreh
On Netflix

Post-birthday and post-trail-race-day found me stranded on the couch yesterday afternoon and searching for something on Netflix to sink into. Fortunately, there's a healthy documentary section including this gripping Oscar nominee by cinematographer and director Dror Moreh. Those of you who know me know I am a big Errol Morris fan, and this film really put me in mind of that great documentarian. Interviewing six former heads of Shin Bet, the Israeli intelligence service, the film outlines the struggles of the young country and some notable operations. Each man speaks candidly about making decisions that ended lives, about planning assassinations, about being haunted by their responsibility. It is a fascinating glimpse into the world of intelligence in one of the most volatile regions in the world.

Director Moreh incorporates the expected talking heads, newsreel footage, and still images, but most interestingly, adds subtle yet effective computer animation sequences that beautifully reenact several events. An intense cinematic music score ratchets up the tension, but the words of what each man says are where the real drama is. Reflecting and reminiscing, they talk about their best and worst days on the job. Decisions needed to be made in the matter of seconds, and those decisions would save some lives and end others. It's a powerful film, regardless of whether or not you understand this part of the world (I'm not sure I do). Highly recommended.