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(Review originally written at 26 March 2007)

This could had been a good and relevant movie to watch but instead the movie remains stuck somewhere between entertaining and poorly told.

The movie is about the interesting story of about establishment of the State of Israel in 1948. It isn't the best known piece of history, mostly because it still was overshadowed by the aftermath of WW II, of which the establishment of the State of Israel was also a direct result. Yet it isn't a subject much handled in movies, compared to other subject from the same time period. But the story is mostly interesting and intriguing to learn about. Also to see how little has actually changed for the Israeli situation, even till this date. Too bad that this movie just can't really be regarded as one of the best sources about this subject.


The movie is too poorly told for that. The movie make some mistakes by putting in some needless plot lines and characters, which make the movie drag and overlong at times. It also lets the movie start of too slow and it isn't exactly clear from the beginning on what the movie is going to be about and were it is heading to. It makes the movie feel like it's 3 hours long, though in reality it isn't. Judging by looking at this movie it seemed like they thought that they were making the new "Lawrence of Arabia" and the choose a same kind of approach with it's storytelling and character treatments. It however isn't halve as brilliant obviously.


The movie also has a totally misplaced love (triangle) story, though that of course was the curse of about ever genre movie from the '50's and '60's.


Basically all of the actors have Jewish roots. The obviously starred in the movie for personal and moralistic reason. I don't know but it just gives the movie a sort of misplaced and biased feeling of that what they were creating here was something totally important, relevant and brilliant. Not that there is anything wrong with the actual acting of course. Kirk Douglas always have been a great leading man and the supporting cast is one to die for. Angie Dickinson plays a bit of an ungrateful role but Yul Brynner and Topol show up in some good roles. Also no one less than John Wayne and Frank Sinatra make an appearance.


All criticism about the story and storytelling aside, this movie still has some good redeeming qualities. The movie definitely gets better in its second halve when the poor formulaic drama makes place for what the story is truly about. It makes the story and drama become more solid and therefor also the movie to become more interesting to watch. The movie also features some good battle sequences, so the fans of 'old' war movies will also get pleased, though this all occurs pretty late into the movie.


The movie is probably more 'entertaining' than educational and interesting but that's not really a bad thing of course. Nevertheless, the subject deserved a better treatment.


7/10

About Frank Veenstra

Watches movies...writes about them...and that's it for now.
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