Israeli Espionage Thriller Builds Tension, Yields Confusion


Israeli filmmaker Eytan Fox, who directed Yossi & Jagger, a surprise hit about two male lovers in the Israeli army, again scales the heights of Middle Eastern machismo with this story of Eyal (Lior Ashkenazi), a ruthless Mossad agent whose new assignment proves peculiarly challenging. Pia (Caroline Peters), the granddaughter of an aging Nazi war criminal, has emigrated from Germany to a kibbutz in Israel; her brother Axel (Knut Berger) is coming to visit. Posing as his tour guide, Eyal must snoop to discover their grandfather’s whereabouts.

It’s not his kind of thing. Eyal is a man of action, of black-and-white moral contrasts, shaped by his parents’ experiences as German Jews and by decades of life-and-death struggles with Arabs. Axel’s empathy with the Palestinian cause and fondness for gay bars soon get on his nerves. But revelations are in store for everyone. Fox sets up the tensions of a dynamic thriller and keeps them in play. Eyal and Axel are vividly drawn, but the female characters remain opaque, and historically, Fox might have bitten off more than he can chew. The complex questions Walk on Water raises receive only confused answers.