I saw an interview with director Eytan Fox where he said he wanted to imagine the two most opposite men possible and make them deal with each other. With writer Gal Uchovsky, he focuses on two men who are almost philosophical constructs of dissimilarity yet they come across as real people whose actions and reactions are unpredictable.
The central character Eyal is the quintessential sabra (Israeli-born native), a craggy, macho Mossad agent unable to discuss his feelings about his ravaged marriage, a child of a Holocaust survivor, fatigued with terrorist attacks and revenge, but in the opening moments efficiently murders a Hamas leader.
He is sent by his mentor/father figure on a rogue mission that annoys him in every possible way -- going undercover to gain the confidence of a young German fully integrated into the EU whose every opinion, action, lifestyle and family background he despises, a continental take on "Donnie Brasco." They personify Faulkner's dictum that "The past is never dead. It's never even past." as each man learns that the measure of a man is not just what he does today and did yesterday, but the genetics and heritage that make up his identity and does influence his choices -- choices that we hold our breaths to see played out.
Lior Ashkenazi captures the screen projecting the relaxed casualness of male camaraderie comfortable from years in the military and then his reactions as he gradually realizes he's been thrust into more complex situations.
Though the situations get a bit too artfully complicated when their somewhat picaresque adventures range from the German's kibbutznik sister to Palestinians to skinheads and a somewhat unnecessary though emotionally satisfying coda, the dialog does refrain from a couple of the most obvious ironies as each man gradually reveals their true nature to each other.
Hearing "Achtung!" amidst Israeli folk dancing is among the unusual juxtapositions in a movie where the characters can only communicate across the divides in English, amidst the three languages they speak among themselves.
While the original music by Ivri Lider is particularly good at emphasizing the underlying emotional content and the diverse cultural environs they find themselves in, the selection of popular music they are listening to adds an additional level of knowing commentary, from the agent's preference for Bruce Springsteen, the avatar of rock 'n' masculinity (particularly the symbolism of him favoring "Tunnel of Love"), to European pop and oldies novelty songs to Israeli folk and popular songs, including the agent's great discomfort at having to translate a poignant romantic song from the Hebrew.