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Room 514 (2012)
"Heder 514" (original title)

6.4
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Reviews: 4 user | 6 critic

In this disturbing, realistic debut a determined young female soldier interrogates an officer. Contrary to her colleagues' advice she accuses him of beating up an Arab family. She ... See full summary »

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Title: Room 514 (2012)

Room 514 (2012) on IMDb 6.4/10

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Cast

Credited cast:
Sharon Bar-Ziv ...
Man on Bus
Oren Farage ...
Officer
Ohad Hall ...
Eraz
Hilly Israel ...
Michaeli
Rafi Kalmar ...
General Major
...
Nimrod
Asia Naifeld ...
Anna
Udi Persi ...
Davidi
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Storyline

In this disturbing, realistic debut a determined young female soldier interrogates an officer. Contrary to her colleagues' advice she accuses him of beating up an Arab family. She perseveres against the abuse of power in the army. A female Israeli soldier is ordered to interrogate an Israeli officer who is alleged to have abused an Arab family. Lower in rank and also a woman, she is barely taken seriously by the haughty man; he only gives her sarcastic answers. Her colleagues, including her lover, advise her to stop the case - because it is too political, too complex and too notorious. Instead, she fastens her teeth in it, in the hope of getting justice for the victims. In the meantime she has the thumbscrews tightened by her lover and his intended. All the interrogations take place in room 514, where the sound palette is formed only by voices and the air conditioning. Room 514 is a courageous, hyper-realistic, low-budget drama that provides a worrying and critical picture of Israeli ... Written by Rotterdam Internationam Film Festival

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

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Drama

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Release Date:

25 October 2012 (Israel)  »

Also Known As:

Room 514  »

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Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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User Reviews

 
Great achievement within a small space, covering much broader issues than the military alone
13 October 2012 | by (Amersfoort, The Netherlands) – See all my reviews

I saw this film as part of the Ghent filmfestival 2012 in the official Competition category. Before booking tickets I found it difficult to imagine that a film that is (almost) fully confined within the walls of an interrogation room, can be able to entertain for one and a half hour. But the festival magazine hinted to "A few good men" with similar limitations (a court room). And further on this line of thought, I still remember "12 Angry men". So who am I to need more reasons??

There were not many reviews on IMDb about Room 514, but the few I saw were very positive, with only a single negative remark about the vast amounts of subtitles (in The Netherlands we are used to that, so I ignored it). All that combined pushed me over the line, and I certainly don't regret my decision.

Though seemingly all about dilemma's around bending the rules for a greater good, when applying violent force that is deemed unnecessary and uncalled for according to the book (rules of engagement), there is much more at stake in this film. There is no violence in the interrogation room, however. Unnecessary violence is only the subject of the interrogation, no more no less.

This film is also about an ambitious woman alone in an army dominated by men, who have their future career in mind and avoid pitfalls whenever possible. On the other hand, our main character is eager to score in the last three weeks of her duty, after which she plans to move on to law school. In other words, a choice between prematurely closing a case file that is declared "hot" by her colleagues due to political implications, versus her sense for a dutiful performance as well as equal chances for Arab's to complain about misdemeanors of Israeli soldiers. All of these issues, in some form or other, are even so relevant in situations much closer to home, like banks and industry.

The outside world appears every now and then, for instance when her mother calls about domestic problems she can't handle. Unanticipated phone calls like these disturb the process of interrogation, and tend to put her in a difficult position. Another outside world becomes apparent on three bus rides home, each of these bus scenes playing a pertinent role in the story line. And last but not least, we have a short appearance of the fiancée of her boss, about to marry. The fiancée insists on hearing from our main character that she did not sleep with her intended (she answers "no", which is literally true). But she really has sex with her boss, obviously not the first time, and we see it all happening within the confined 4 square meters of Room 514, also housing a table, two chairs and a filing cabinet (a remarkable achievement, if I may say so).

All in all, while the underlying theme seems bound to Israeli versus Arabs, the issues at hand are applicable world wide, and hence interesting for all people of all nations. Acting and casting are very believable, and you are carried away easily with the actions and reactions of the different participants. The good cop/bad cop role switching of our main character is remarkable, and overall she seems very competent in her MP job. I was left a bit unclear about the role of the general who appears in the end. Firstly, he understandably defends his officers and tries very hard to convince her that she acted wrongly. Secondly, he seemed to turn 180 degrees, and left suddenly without enlightening us why he did what he did.

Of course, these are small tidbits and pale before the overall very positive impression that this film left. What else could I do than scoring a 5 (highest) for the audience award when leaving the theater??


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