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Two Opposite Men Unpredictably Learn A Very Personal Detente
noralee18 March 2005
"Walk on Water" piles layers of personal, family, religious, cultural, historical, employment, geopolitical, sexual, geographical, guilt and responsibility issues on two men -- and still makes it work as the gripping story of two individuals whose lives affect each other.

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.
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An amazing synthesis of modern issues.
giladwas19 March 2004
This is a unique film that has several layers all happening at once.

The clash between gay and hetro men. The Israeli-Arab conflict. Bringing Natzi criminals to justice. All this and more while undergoing a sight-seeing tour north and south of Israel with its beautiful scenery.

To summerise... A must see film. Not your usual expected Hollywood drama but a true multi-cultural story with dynamic and evolving characters.
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Authentic and moving (though, more than slightly Self-righteous)
eyal philippsborn11 October 2004
Sometimes the opening credits predict a great deal about the film itself. Sometimes it's a deliberate decision of the director and sometimes it's a plain business decision. James bond's movies always began with silhouettes of highly attractive women holding guns in a "I'm having a seizure" postures (a long and annoying tradition that stopped only on "Die another day") , Ed Wood films opening credits were presented as epitaffs on graves (indicating that people would see the films over their dead bodies) etc.

This film's credits are pretty conventional, only they are in English. This is more than slightly perplexing since this film is not only shot, mainly, in Israel but also because it deals with a topic that is highly charged and controversial among Israelis, namely, the collaboration with modern day Germany, in light of the not so distant past of the Holocaust.

Eyal (Lior Ashkenazi in a terrific performance) is a Mossad agent, returning from Turkey after an efficient and clean assassination of a Terrorist only to find that during his absence his wife, Iris, committed suicide. Eyal, an obtuse individual who only benefited from it in his work, seems unaffected emotionally by such a tragic loss and the worried powers that be demote him (to his dismay) to gather information about a Nazi criminal that lives a clandestine life in an undisclosed location. Eyal poses as a tour guide for Axel, the Nazi's grandson, visiting his sister in a Kibbutz (a once glorified and now decaying socialist community) after she disengaged herself from her parents.

The "Spying" mission turns soon enough to be a "Roman a clef", a self discovery voyage where Eyal deals with his upbringing in a house of Holocaust survivors and the flaws of his character that made him a first rate assassin but a third rate human being. Axel, the German tourists who starts as Eyal's nemesis (not only because of his origin but also due to his gay tendencies and his merry and merciful personality), ends up as the one who turns Eyal's life around.

The relationship with modern day Germany is still a touchy subject in Israel and will probably remain so for many decades to come. Till this day, many families don't travel to Germany or even buy German products and although I believe that no generation is born with a debt, I never judge those who boycott Germany considering the demons they have to face as a result of the never too distant to be forgotten Holocaust. This movie deals with the dealing of both Israelis and Germans with their past and with each other by the impossible friendship between Eyal and Axel.

The Latin credits, as I said before, are the prophecy for the filmmakers' intention for foreign viewing. It begins with the almost apologetic mentioning that Eyal's assassination "victim" is a terrorist , continues with the too PC and not very plot-essential coexistence with the Israeli-Arab population and the atmosphere of the gay night life.

Moreover, the film conveniently deals with another controversial subject, Palestinian Terror, in a manner that is easier for the European "creative stomach" to digest. At a certain point, its over flown with excessive self-righteousness that is rarely identified in a terror ridden country.

That reservation is the film's only major flaw and, altogether, the collaboration between the writer, Gal Uchovski, and director, Eitan Fuchs, spawns one of the best written and directed Israeli films I came across. Aided with wonderful acting and well constructed plot, this film encounters its major controversial issue bravely and authentically which I assume, atones the writer and driector's failure to do so in its minor one.

8.5 out of 10 in my FilmOmeter.
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Definitely worth seeing
Danielle31 March 2005
I won't bother to summarize the movie, because many of the existing user comments give very detailed descriptions of the plot (much more information than someone who hasn't seen the movie yet would want). I just want to encourage anyone who hasn't seen the movie to check it out. It's a provocative movie, exploring a bunch of interesting themes, including Israeli relations with both Palestinians and Germans. I also found it to be an engaging film, with interesting characters and many involving story lines. It's almost a fable or fairytale, which the title alludes to. Go in the right frame of mind and you'll enjoy the movie very much, as I did.
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Tough men also cry
jotix10015 April 2005
Warning: Spoilers
Israel cinema is to be commended for excellent film making, done with conviction and courage. In the last few years we have been blessed with movies that are tremendously appealing. Such is the case with "Walk on Water". Under the sure direction of Eytan Fox, and based on a screen play by Gal Ushavsky, we embark in a trip of revenge and understanding between two men on opposite sides.

If you haven't seen the film, perhaps stop reading here.

When the film opens, we see an idyllic boat trip along the Bosphorus in Istambul. The serene scene of the sightseeing trip suddenly turns sinister as we watch Eyal approach the couple and child seating in front of him during the trip and kills the man with a lethal injection.

The action then changes to Israel. We get to know Eyal is a member of Israel's secret service organization. Eyal has had it and wants to break away, but his superior, Menachem gives him a new order to track down an old Nazi war criminal. His grandchildren happen to be in the country, Pia, as a volunteer in a kibbutz and Axel who is on vacation.

Eyal is of two minds. Why kill an old man? Why now? Menachem's idea is that getting rid of that beast is an act of avenging Eyal's parents and other victims. When Eyal gets home he finds his wife has committed suicide. As a way to get away from his problems, Eyal agrees to go on a last mission.

In the process, Eyal discovers that the gentle Axel and Pia, repudiate the idea of the German past. Eyal, who has been cool toward Axel because of the latter's homosexuality, is sent to Berlin to infiltrate the family during an upcoming birthday party where he discovers Axel's grandfather as an added surprise. Pushed by Menachem to kill the old man, Eyal, discovers that he can't do the killing.

The movie presents a lot of ideas for which there are no easy answers. Eyal recognizes the innocence of both Axel and Pia, to whom the mere idea of such a past is repugnant, at best. Eyal is torn between duty and what he feels is the right thing to do. Eyal's wife suicide is never completely justified, or explained.

The problems between Palestinians and Israelis play also a part in the story. We hear about different suicide bombings happening in parts of the country. Also, when Eyal confronts a Palestinian gay man that has taken Axel shopping in a relative's store, puts in motion the hatred he feels for the group that are terrorizing his country.

In Lior Ashkenazi, the director has found a charismatic Eyal. This actor exudes virility, honesty and integrity. Eyal is torn between the men who committed the atrocities during WWII, and the present. In his mind, there are fewer of them now, let them die, as they're not in any position to harm anyone, any more.

Knut Berger plays Axel Himmelman with an ease that is disarming. Mr. Berger makes this man appealing. The actor makes an extraordinary contribution to the film. Caroline Peters is also good as Pia, the kind soul that doesn't want anything to do with her German past. In Israel she has found her happiness. Gideon Senner, is Menachem, the old man in charge of the secret service agency whose mission is never let the world forget about the suffering the Jews suffered at the hands of the Nazis.

"Walk on Water", thanks to Mr. Fox's direction captures our attention from the beginning. We look forward anxiously to his next efforts.
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A crisis of conscience
Havan_IronOak4 June 2004
Eyal is a Mossad agent who specializes in terminating those that his agency deems enemies. Upon returning from a mission in Istanbul, he finds that his wife has committed suicide. Until he has been evaluated by a therapist Eyal cannot return to his regular field assignments and is given the task of getting close to the grandchildren of one of the last surviving Nazi war criminals in hopes of finding out where the old man is. The old man has recently disappeared, the man's son is nearing his 70th birthday and his grandson is coming to Israel to visit his kibbutznik sister.

Eyan poses as a tour guide and is quickly accepted by Axel, the grandson and Pia his sister. Eyan spends most of his time with the charming, spontaneous and open Axel but starts forming a friendship with both grandchildren.

Between his emotions over the death of his wife and his growing feelings for the two grandchildren Eyan has a crisis of conscience. Can he violate the trust the two have placed in him? Can he kill again?

Overall this is a well written; many faceted story, remarkably well told. I personally didn't care for the ending but I can't explain too much without giving away what happens.
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Great Movie!
Slarti-226 April 2004
I have seen this movie a few days ago, and I am still thinking about it. I believe this is one of the best films I have seen in a very long while. The film has a rare combination of being fun to watch and amusing at times, combined with a real deep movie with real deep characters and sophisticated.

It is safe to say that the film is not clean of some logical flaws, but they do not disturb the flow of the film. I loved everything about this film, from the script to the acting and to the excellent photography (which, I have to admit, is rare in Israelie movies, at least until the last few years).

Although I do understand that Israelies and Germans are more likely to connect to this film, I recommend it to everybody. I think it can be appreciated by anyone who likes quality cinema.

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Highly recommended
schmo-228 March 2005
I don't know why other reviewers characterize the Eyal character as "racist" (just because he calls suicide bombers "animals" which is too good an epithet) or "homophobic" (just because he is asking about some technical details about gay relations). In my humble opinion, the movie is a fair description of Israeli realities, and German (or European) softness for terrorists. Being familiar with both Israeli and German realities I found was fascinated by the director's insights and by the fine acting of the three principals as well as the supporting actors. The music by Esther and Abi Ofarim and the nice mixture of German, Englicsh and Hebrew made the movie most enjoyable.
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worth a look
lara_jensen10 September 2004
Conflict is the theme of this movie: the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the acceptance of gay men by heterosexual men and young Germans with their country's history. The storyline, set in modern-day Turkey, Israel and Germany, is intriguing though I found the final scene unnecessary until the producer explained that it was added to give Israeli audiences a sense of hope for the future.

The representation of German culture was quite accurate: young Germans cannot identify with their grandparents' experiences during the second world war.

What started out as a very promising film became a bit too stereotyped in the end: while there has be a rise in neo-Naziism in Germany, attacks in the subway are rare (especially in cosmopolitan cities like Berlin); having a German grandfather who lived in exile in Argentina is also fairly atypical - more realistic would have been a grandfather who could not understand/identify with the youth or who completely agreed with the youth and struggled with his own past.

The use of language throughout the film is very realistic and the English text is direct and simplistic. The characters can be forgiven for their language abilities since English is their second language. However, the simplicity and moralistic tone are a bit patronizing for an English-speaking audience.

Walk on Water is an entertaining movie that will encourage you to consider conflicts from a variety of viewpoints.
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"walking on water" or "the man who cried"
Umani1 February 2005
Warning: Spoilers
the film aired for the last time in my city tonight.

i read (and respect) critics who see in this film an angry homophobic man, incapable of dealing with his inner emotions. personally, i believe it goes beyond this appreciation, this is just part of the mosaic.

the reality of present day Israel, the Israelo-Palestinian conflict, the German identity after WWII: amidst all of these parts of the mosaic, is a very powerful image, that of Tabgha on the Sea of Galilee, and of a miracle.

why do human beings become intolerant, hate and kill. the story of generations, of conflicts, of wounds left unhealed. there is one key phrase in the film : "open your heart". it takes tragedy in several forms in this film for tears to flow, the heart to open and start feeling again. to live again, as is the great statement in the end.

all of them have suffered, Jews, Palestinians, Germans. it stems from a long history, and what we see nowadays is just the result of history and many unhealed wounds.

i was moved and disturbed by a father who wants to take the role of God and "take a man's life" before God does. i don't have to agree with it, but can rationally see why he evolves this way after losing his family under the Nazi regime. the weight of the past joins the present when he asks his son to commit a murder for those matters unresolved in his heart. (some will say he is accomplishing justice).

when the son spoke German again, i shivered. he is in the past, he is in the present; but he is not a victim, he is a survivor.

i do not think he didn't kill out of his evolving friendship with Axel, but because he simply could not kill anymore. he remembered those words: "open your heart" and cried at last.

when Axel touches his grandfather, there is no hatred in his gestures and expressions. he gently caresses the forehead, the lips... as in a last sacrament that atones, expiates past sins. the ending scene was felt more like a deliverance and putting a soul to rest.

Tabgha is a very powerful symbol of compassion and faith in this film. the film maker must be someone who vividly feels the human condition, transcending barriers of religion or nationality.

i also recommend this film because it allows to view a few aspects of Israeli life, the tension between Israelis and Palestinians, and fragments of Berlin, three generations afterwards, and such great soul searching.

Excellent, simply excellent.
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Dramatizes the people we have become
Howard Schumann21 March 2005
Warning: Spoilers
In the modern world, terrorists cannot let feelings get in the way of their assigned mission and those who defend themselves against terrorist attacks must be equally strong and ruthless. Killing is done with cold efficiency and the killers cannot allow themselves to acknowledge their own pain or the pain of others. A film that dramatizes the kind of people we have become is Eytan Fox's Walk on Water, a film about a Mossad secret agent, trained as a ruthless killer, who uncovers his own humanity before it is lost forever. Fox, an openly gay Israeli director, has directed a film about the subjects he is most familiar with: the problems of gay people, the Arab-Israeli conflict, and the unhealed wounds between Jews and Germans.

Based on an actual incident related to the director by his therapist, Walk on Water begins when Mossad agent Eyal (Lior Ashkenazi) efficiently carries out an assassination of a Hamas leader in broad daylight in front of hundreds of people including the leader's wife and young son. When he arrives home, Eyal discovers that his wife has committed suicide. Though Eyal is as unemotional as ever, his boss Menachem (Gideon Shemer) refuses to give him a dangerous assignment until he has dealt with this tragedy. Eyal accepts the temporary job of pretending to be a tour guide for the grandchildren of a Nazi war criminal, Alfred Himmelman, in hopes that they will lead him to their grandfather.

He meets young Axel Himmelman (Knut Berger) an open, liberal-minded German who has come to visit his sister Pia (Carolina Peters) who lives and works on a kibbutz in Israel and refuses to have anything to do with her parents. When he greets them at the airport, his dry sense of humor emerges. He tells them that they just missed today's bomb, that there is usually one a day and there will be another one for them shortly. As a tour guide Eyal is cynical and taciturn but each gradually warms to the other. Pia, though German, is quite content in Israel and tells Eyal that people look upon her with pity but do not stop being friendly. Both Eyal and Axel appreciate the same kind of music and a night of dancing to Israeli folk music helps bridge the gap of understanding.

Eyal never loses his focus on the job at hand, however, and plants a recording device in Pia's room, then sits up at night listening to taped conversations of "Hansel" and "Gretel" in hopes of learning the whereabouts of their Nazi grandfather. When they visit the Sea of Galilee, Axel tells Eyal that they can walk on water if they can purify themselves and as they visit the tourist spots of Jerusalem, Eyal's demeanor starts to become a bit softer. The agent's facade crumbles even further when Pia and Axel mimic the song "Cinderella Rockafella" at a Kibbutz talent Quest, evident in flashbacks to the tears on his wife's face and that of his last victim's son. After Eyal calls Palestinians little better than animals, he becomes very disturbed when he discovers Axel is Gay, especially when he picks up an Arab boy (Yussuf Sweid) during a tour of Jerusalem.

The boy, put off by his attitude, tells him, "You, the Jews, are always busy thinking of what has and what has not been done to you. Maybe, if you could stop worrying about this past of yours, you could see…." But Eyal doesn't want to see and tells him to shut up. The final scenes take place in Berlin where Axel has gone to be at his father's 70th birthday party, an event Ayel has also flown to Germany to attend at Axel's invitation. The climax brings all the elements of the film together in scenes that that are tense, emotional, and unpredictable but filled with a deep humanity as each character reveals their vulnerability.

Perhaps Fox tries to tackle too many issues in a film of only 104 minutes, yet Walk on Water is more about personal transformation than the rights and wrongs of a particular cause. Fox has shown us with humor and compassion that, beyond the terrorist bombs and the growing despair, there is a common thread of humanity that exists between seemingly irreconcilable people and ideas. It is an outstanding film that will leave you feeling that you can walk on water.
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Well Done, If Predictable -- Possible SPOILERS
gelman@attglobal.net23 April 2005
Warning: Spoilers
The ending of "Walk on Water" is telegraphed soon after the beginning when Israeli Mossad agent Eyal (Lior Ashkenazi) poses as a tour guide to befriend a young German brother and sister (Knut Berger and Caroline Peters) in hopes they will lead him to their elderly grandfather, a Nazi war criminal. You know immediately that Eyal will marry the sister, that he and the brother will become friends, that they will find the elderly grandfather and Eyal, a trained assassin, will be unable to kill him. The film is awash in moral messages: Gays are people too; Germans don't all hate Jews; Israelis and Palestinians are both suffering; killing is morally deadening, etc. Predictability and implied sermonizing are normally enough to sink any movie. This one is redeemed by swift pacing,interesting characters, shifting locations (Istanbul, Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, the Sea of Galilee, the Dead Sea, Berlin) excellent photography, a bit of satisfying violence -- the hero takes on a trio of bad guys in the Berlin subway -- and superior acting by Ashkenazi,Berger and Peters. It's also refreshing to find that the young German woman, the hero's eventual love interest, is an attractive and very pretty girl but not movie star beautiful. In fact, the only movie star beautiful person in this film is the hero, Lior Ashkenazi, who has dark good looks, flashing eyes and a chin like Cary Grant's. Don't be surprised if Hollywood comes for him. His English is quite good and he's a lot better looking than a number of the ranking male stars. There are subtitles, of course, but much of the dialog is in English and the story is very easy to follow. This one is definitely worth chasing.
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Very good pre-"Munich" analysis of violence
Polaris_DiB26 March 2007
Warning: Spoilers
This movie reminds me of Munich, though it's actually made by an Israeli, is better, and came first. It's the story of Eyal, an assassin sent to host a German tourist named Axel in order to discover the whereabouts of Axel's grandfather, an escaped Nazi that the Israeli's want brought to justice. As the two get to know each other, though, they spark up a friendship that contrasts against the violent and disturbing contemporary world of daily suicide bombings and the estranged, powerful history of the Holocaust.

As the story proceeds, characters are made of small moments of dialog and big revelations as the two grind against the edge of hate and love and try to figure out what their role assumes in this world. This movie is very revealing of the Israelite's own role in the violence of the particular area and era, and also analysis the way hate threads itself through history to haunt the futures of even the most self-assured, open-minded people.

Unfortunately, it also has a very sentimental ending which almost subverts the power of the movie as a whole. But everything preceding it, especially the scenes involving the Nazi grandparent himself, vastly overweighs the film and maintains a sense of pained hope.

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It's not what you think
lastliberal9 March 2007
This movie was billed as a film about a Mossad agent going after a war criminal. One would suspect something along the lines of The Bourne Identity or Munich. You would be sorely disappointed.

This is a film about life and about people. It is about forgiving and forgetting. It's about "getting over it." It is about acceptance of others regardless of their national origin or sexual orientation.

This film is full of surprises and it is how people deal with those surprises that is what is so fascinating about it. It is about generational differences and how the same thing affects the young and old.

If you are interested in Holocaust films or Israeli-Palestinaian relations, then this is a film you will certainly enjoy.
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Great movie, ridiculous ending
Exiled_Archangel5 October 2006
Warning: Spoilers
I decided to rent this movie upon recommendation (from an Israeli that is); and knowing Lior Ashkenazi is in it, I didn't hesitate to go get it. Until the last couple of minutes, I wasn't disappointed at all, but the ending negatively surprised me. Such a great flick with nice shots of three different countries (Israel, Germany, Turkey), a stable storyline, wonderful acting and an outstanding socio-cultural weight (blended with well-balanced humour if I may add - Eyal's "Hansel & Gratel" joke, for instance, was simple yet subtle), ends in a silly "and they lived happily ever after" trip. I just find that unacceptable! Now I wonder, did Axel find himself a nice gay lover too? Maybe Eyal's gay cousin that jumped out of nowhere just on time, or Rafik the Arab? Give me a break!

Other than that very detail mentioned above, the movie was really good. Lior Ashkenazi was perfect as always, the relationships were well-drawn, the depictions of the Mossad environment and the rich German ex-Nazi family were realistic (albeit, too close to the bone at times), and the plot was rather engrossing. Special congratulations go to Knut Berger if he isn't actually gay, because he plays the stereotype nice and friendly gay guy VERY well.

Walk On Water easily qualifies as a good movie, if not a great one. My vote is 8,5 / 10 and it could have well been 10/10, had the ending been suitable for people over 12 years of age (i.e. not that much of a fable-like ending)
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Thoroughly Engrossing
anthony_norris14 May 2006
I thoroughly enjoyed this film. It was entertaining, educational, and thought provoking... enough so for me to register with IMDb and write about it here.

This film takes on a multitude of social issues, some of them very superficially. However, because it has a solid plot, excellent character development, and top-notch acting, I found myself engrossed in the film.

The only downside of the film is that it asks many many questions, but only really examines one or two of them. It might have been better to not confuse the theme of the film by introducing so many issues. But, for whatever reason, it works.

This film touches on Israeli-German relations, Israeli-Arab relations, homosexual relationships, heterosexual relationships, marriage and family life, terrorism-counterterrorism, and generational conflict. Of these, it really examines Israeli-German relations and homosexual relationships in most detail and leaves a lot of open questions on the other issues.

If you're thinking at this point that the film sounds like it might be a bit too heavy, think again. It does a good job of providing you with an entertaining experience while masterfully weaving in each of these issues. I would highly recommend it.
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Sometimes the impossible is possible
vic-s23 February 2006
I saw this movie 3 times; after the 1st at a film festival i was already planning to tell everyone i know about it. i couldn't wait for it to come out on DVD and saw it the 2nd & 3rd time with people i recommended it to.

The subtitles were not cumbersome, it was an intriguing story. I wasn't aware of goofs and errors because here in America it is a foreign film therefore some aspects of the story were foreign to me. For the most part the acting was convincing especially by Lior Ashkenazi (Eyal) and Gideon Shemer (Menachem), both whom I'd never seen before this movie. Would now like to see Ashkenazi in an American film.

I wish the plot outline hadn't given away so much of the story. I won't. I'll just state that the main character is a Mossad agent. I hate violence. And at the beginning of the movie I hated him and thought I'd hate the movie. But without a lot of dialogue the story subtly unfolds and evolves into something you'd never expect. Simply complex. There are some hilarious scenes and moments of triumph. Since it was filmed on location, it was a nice 103 minute escape with beautiful shots of the ancient Dead Sea and Sea of Gallilee. You have to see it for yourself.
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Amateurish feel, but good movie with exception of poor epilogue
pc9514 September 2005
Warning: Spoilers
This is a well acted movie with some great dialogue at times. It starts out searingly too...What keeps it from being really good is the ribbon-wrapped epilogue....it really sugar-coated something that ought not have been. They could have cut away with the lead breaking down, or something more subtle - not happy-ending time. There was some very poignant dialogue here and there, and also noteworthy was the international feel of the film on location. However, the camera work at times was shaky and distracting, causing me to wonder if it was on a tight budget. Had the movie had some better camera work and lost the contrived epilogue, it would've been a superior movie. Nonetheless its still pretty good - the unsure friendship between the leads and the important social issues are dealt with well. So forgiving the very end - it is recommended.
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Lame and politically correct (some very small spoilers)
Ted9 February 2006
Warning: Spoilers
This movie is a really bad one... The only one who can act in this film is the main character, the Mossad-agent. The rest are lousy. But that's not my main problem with the movie: It's so politically correct and adapted to fit a moral blind to the truth.

Naww, a Mossad-agent says "he can't kill anymore". And he's weeping over an ex-Nazi murderer? Come on and get real.

The thing that made me want to puke the most is the last scene. I don't think I ever seen a scene that has so little real feeling to it. THe director/screenwriter really wants to be "deep" and write something poetic for the screen but it only comes through as false and plastic. It's a pretentious move.

Don't see it. Go se "The Little Drummer Girl" instead!
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Unfulfilled promise
adnatan5 April 2004
Walk on water has all the ingredients to make a good film but one, script. The film looks promising in its first half. However, the low credibility of the script in supporting the main characters causes the ending of the film look somewhat phony. The main flaw is failing to build up the emotional process that the leading character, Eyal (played by the talented Lior Ashkenazi), is going through after the death of his wife. It seems that the writer preferred discussing different aspects of male persona (primarily straight vs gay), was on the expense of managing the complex relations between the interesting characters he invented. In my view: 6 out of 10.
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A very good and courageous movie,
Galina11 April 2007
"Walk on Water" is courageous film, confidently directed by Eytan Fox based on the screenplay written by his partner Gal Uchovsky and well acted. Its subject is a Mossad's agent whose new mission is to hunt the former Nazi criminal who lives nowadays somewhere in South America. In order to trace him, Eyal (Lior Ashkenazi) takes a job as a tourist guide for the grandson of war criminal - sociable, open, friendly young German, Axel. Axel arrives to Israel to visit his sister Pia who chose to live in Israel and work in a kibbutz and to talk her into reconciling with their parents. Eyal drives Alex in his SUV, shows him the country. They sit on the coast of Dead Sea, both smeared by celebrated therapeutic mud from neck to toes. In another scene, Alex tries to walk on the water of Kinarteth (the Sea of Galilee); three of them visit the gay- bar in Tel Aviv - Alex does not hide his sexual orientation.

The characters are interesting and compelling. The story is engaging and I feel connected to the movie the way very few movies make me. I recognize the places I've been to and I've come to love and to dream of seeing them again and again. The film starts in Istanbul, Turkey on the boat over the Bosphor and the guide talks about the bridge between Europe and Asia. I've been on the boat like that and I saw the bridge. Then the action takes place in Israel and I was happy to recognize Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, The Sea of Galilee (Kinereth), The Dead Sea where one just floats without swimming, the desert.

The plot moves from Israel to Berlin where Eyal is visiting with his new friend's family. Alex's and Pia's father celebrates his anniversary and for the first time, a helpless dying old man arrives to Berlin, the Nazi criminal, Axel's and Pia's grandfather, Eyal's target. The film explores the moral dead ends of the modern society full of hostility and old unpaid debts. Eyal remembers the history of his country and its people, he knows not from the books about Holocaust. He is a soldier and must be merciless but he has to learn something about understanding from his young German friend. Film attracts by the non-standard approach to the familiar themes of religious prejudices, homophobia, neo-fascism, newest terror and other sources of the hatred, which destroys the world. It would not surprise me to find out that the film has many detractors in Germany, Palestine, and in Israel. The final is a little too neat and belongs to the modern fairy tale genre. I see it as the director's dream that he wanted to come true - the people with different backgrounds, mentalities, history, and preferences would understand one another and would come toward one another with the open hearts and clean thoughts. Dreams, dreams...
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Certainly One of the Finest Films of the Year!
gradyharp4 September 2005
Eytan Fox ('Yossi & Jagger', and others) is an important director to watch. Born in the USA and emigrated to Israel at the age of two, Fox understands the art of cinematic storytelling and in WALK ON WATER he brings this impressive tale of universal and personal forgiveness written by Gal Uchovsky with collaboration by actors Knut Berger and Caroline Peters, and Andreas Struck to the screen with finesse, subtlety, and grace. His in a name to watch.

Films dealing with the aftermath of Hitler's annihilation of the Jews and their subsequent formation of the haven Israel have been many and variably successful, primarily because the Jew vs Nazi histories have been so polarized to appeal to all audiences who need to have good guys vs bad guys easily identified for them. This beautiful film refuses to go there, but instead mixes the young people of Germany and Israel in a manner that finally enlightens us as to the process of letting go, of forgiveness in order to move ahead with living.

Eyal (the dashingly handsome and sensitive actor Lior Ashkenazi) works for the Israeli group headed by Menachem (Gideon Shemer) whose life's work it is to track down and kill all remaining Nazi perpetrators of the concentration camps. Eyal is a damaged man, his wife has committed suicide partially because of his job as hired assassin of anti-Israeli people, and he has finally grown weary of Menachem's obsession to exterminate all living Nazis. Yet he is assigned one more 'victim', an old man who is the grandfather of two German young people - Pia (Caroline Peters) who happily lives in an Israeli kibbutz and her brother Axel (Knut Berger) who has come to Israel to plead with his sister to return to Berlin to her estranged parents for her father's birthday. Pia knows of her grandfather's Nazi war crimes and resents that her parents had helped him escape from being tried as a war criminal.

Menachem assigns Eyal to be Axel's 'tour guide' in Israel, hoping to find a path to their grandfather, the war criminal. Axel is gay and during his time with Eyal touring the sites of Israel the two grow warmly as friends, Eyal asking many penetrating questions about Axel's gay lifestyle. Pia, Axel and Eyal become friends and when Pia refuses to join Axel in returning to Berlin for the father's birthday, Eyal 'consents' to accompany him. Several incidents occur both in Israel and Berlin that bond Eyal and Axel and that unveil some of Eyal's shaky demons of Arab hate, homophobia, and guilt over his wife's suicide. Yet for the first time Eyal has a man with whom he can relate and he grows fond of Axel.

In Berlin Eyal is warmly accepted into Axel's vast home. At the birthday party Axel displays his love for Israeli folk dancing as a gift to his father, engendering kind feelings from Eyal. But suddenly the grandfather is wheeled into the room by his attending nurse, repulsing Axel, and Eyal leaves: Meachem has followed him to Berlin and tells Eyal to terminate the old man. Eyal returns to the house and is unable to carryout his task, and the resulting resolution of the 'deed' and the manner in which Eyal and Axel come together is one of those magic moments of storytelling, one that equates with the miraculous ability to walk on water.

The cast is superb, always allowing us to see the hidden corners of intent, motivation, and lasting resentment as well as the opening of the doors of ultimate forgiveness and life. WALK ON WATER is a thriller, an espionage film, an historic moment, and a love story told with richly detailed sensitivity and bravura. Highly Recommended. Grady Harp
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Linda15 June 2005
This film is truly excellent, meetsooyan! It examines issues of terrorism, homosexuality, war crimes, hatred, love, prejudice, stereotypes, the need to belong to humanity, and many others with heart, empathy, courage and humor. The writing is so fine! The casting is very appropriate. Eyal, Axel and Pia are real people. The actors who played them have real screen-appeal. Eytan Fox's directing is wonderful. The camera work is polished. We also get a travelogue through Israel and an insight to current attitudes and music. I was fascinated.

Eyal (Lior Ashkenazi) is a typically macho Israeli man who not only wants to forget he has emotions, but he really cannot cry if he wanted to owing to some unusual tear-duct disorder. He works as a hit man for a government security agency. When his wife commits suicide, Eyal is sent on a mission his mentor doesn't expect he can mess up in his delicate emotional state, tracking down a Nazi war criminal in his 90s. Eyal poses as a travel guide to take the Nazi's grandson, Axel Himmelman (Knut Berger), on a tour of Israel while visiting his sister, Pia (Caroline Peters), who has renounced her family and lives in on an Israeli kibbutz, communal farm. Eyal is eavesdropping to find any hint the grandfather is still alive. At first Eyal is contemptuous of the grandson's sympathy for the Palestinians and his lifestyle, and he imposes his thoughts and actions upon his affable client. Gradually he comes to realize that Axel is no armchair liberal. The plot twists keep coming and we hold our breaths seeing how stereotyped people will react to the unexpected.
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Quietly Subversive
rkraft215 September 2005
Although "Walk on Water" will probably not be an enduring classic, I rate it a rare 10 because it displays the best qualities of contemporary film-making: concise, multicultural, visually exciting, and unflinching, with distinct and intertwined stories. The viewer sees the past and present conflicts of Israeli culture alternately through the two main characters -- the doubting zealousness of the seasoned Israeli operative and the clear-eyed innocence of the young German tourist. Well edited and subtle, each scene conveys its message and moves on. Most remarkable are the unexpected revelations in each character and the underlying changes, imperceptible from one scene to the next, but powerful over the arc of the film. In short, the film is enjoyable and riveting.
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