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Walk on Water
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Customer Reviews:

  • Exceptional Movie
    A very intense drama that sneaks up on you with its seriousness and rewards you with a satisfying resolution at the end. Well worth a look !...more info
  • A Story Worth Watching
    An excellent film from Israel, but could have been any country that feels on the brink of "near-extinction". The story is told by using flashbacks and it takes awhile to come to grips with the protagonist and what he is trying to do. You see him change before your eyes and the actors all work so well to make this happen.
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  • A Tense, Powerful Film
    WALK ON WATER, directed by Eytan Fox, is as good a movie as you're likely to see. It is well directed, acted and photographed and has a great soundtrack including music by Bruce Springsteen, Buffalo Springfield and Gigliola Cinquetti. The linear plot is straight-forward and powerful. Eyal (Lior Ashkenzai), in the Israeli Secret Service, is in the business of killing terrorists. After the death of his wife, however, he gets a new assignment: to track down and take out an aging Nazi war criminal "before God does." The Nazi's gay grandson Axel (Knut Berger) will soon be visiting his sister Pia (Caroline Peters) who has left Berlin to live in a kibbutz in Israel. Eyal poses as an employee of "Horizon Tours Israel" in order to get close to the German brother and sister in an effort to find their grandfather.

    Although all the actors give fine performances, the movie ultimately belongs to Ashkenzai with his swarthy good looks and moody blue eyes. It is fascinating to watch him grow from a methodical killer to someone else entirely. (I won't give away the plot here.) The director does not shy away from difficult questions: Why are Palestinians desperate enough to become suicide bombers? Is it always necessary to take vengence in your own hands? Are there circumstances when you should leave an old, sick criminal to heaven? Can you love the children (or grandchildren) of an enemy? Does killing breed more killing? Can straight men and gay men be friends?

    The movie is ultimately about hope and forgiveness. The ending that takes place at the Sea of Galilee, which is all about the title of the movie, will take your breath away.

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  • Best Movie of 2005
    This would have to be my favourite movie of 2005!!!! The acting ,story and directing were superb with so many issues making up this fine piece of cinema . I can only say that I have seen it at the movies 8 times and at least 6 times on DVD !!! It may seem that I am slightly obsessed but I am!!!...more info
  • A fascinating film that works on many levels, but get the PAL version
    On August 30, the North American (NTSC) version was released, and the one I had pre-ordered was recently delivered. For the last two months, I'd had the PAL edition I had ordered directly from Israel. When I watched the NTSC version, I was able to compare the two editions.

    First, the PAL edition really does have a better picture, because it has 20% more lines of resolution on the screen, but the NTSC picture looked pretty good. The NTSC edition has larger yellow subtitles (the PAL ones are a bit smaller and white), but the yellow subtitles looked a bit fuzzy around the edges on my large-screen TV, even though the rest of the picture was quite clear. The white subtitles looked a bit sharper.

    On the Israeli edition, you have options of no subtitles, English subtitles, or Hebrew subtitles (which I found useful when some of the accented English was hard to understand). On the NA version, it's either English for everything (captioning), or just English when Hebrew or German were being spoken.

    Now the bad part. The Israeli version just starts with a 30-second commercial, all in Hebrew, advertising a brand of TV and then goes right into the movie, with a much classier opening montage behind the menu. The NA version starts with a whopping EIGHT previews, unless you intercept them first, in which case it just goes through all its groan-inducing FBI warnings, and then several studio headers, and releasing info and such, before the movie finally starts.

    But the WORST difference? The Israeli version is loaded with fascinating cast interviews, background information about the making of the movie, theatre trailers for the movie, a feature about all the excitement when it opened at the Berlin Film Festival, and a segment where a well-known Israeli TV interviewer does a promo for the film. Much of it is in Hebrew, but with English subtitles.

    It turns out, for example, that Knut Berger really is gay. Caroline Peters' grandfather really was a Nazi (he was in the S.S., yet). Ernest Lenart, who plays the Nazi grandfather, is actually a German Jew who is himself a survivor of the Holocaust. Lior Ashkenazi, who plays toughguy Eyal has talked on live Israeli TV about having had an adult love affair with another man, like he does (implied) in this movie.

    But you wouldn't know any of that if you'd only bought the NA edition -- because contrarily, the NA edition has NOTHING in the way of extras, probably to make room for all eight of those previews! The case mentions a "making of" feature, but it isn't listed anywhere on the menu. And believe me, I looked for it. Whose idea was THAT?

    By the way, I notice that, in interviews, the director has been confirming what I said about the real relationship between the two men. It's almost comical to see people being miffed at the suggestion they were intimate, as if they can't grasp that a macho guy could also be attracted to a man.

    Personally, I think the director and his gay spouse of 17 years (who wrote the screenplay), planned it as a clever "in-joke" just to see who of the non-gay audience would "get it". From the looks of it, it looks like not many did.......more info
  • Interesting film
    I have enjoyed all Eytan Fox's movies. He always selects good actors/actresses that bring excellent life to their characters. Walk on water gives an interesting view into doubts that lead to a complete reversal of lifevalues. At the same time there are others that are portrayed as keeping on to values that have festered since they haven't been open and therefore torn a family apart.
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  • A Wonderful Surprise
    My wife and I rented this through the video-on-demand service from our local cable company and were pleasantly surprised by this fabulous film. The storyline hooked us from the film's opening moments and kept us fully engaged throughout. This is one of the few films I've ever seen where I dreaded the end because it was so good that I wanted it to continue forever. The acting is natural, the topics it tackles are handled in a way that I think is at once truthful, realistic and sensitive without being manipulative, maudlin or a heavy-handed in-your-face screed (Hollywood, take note). What a phenominal film!...more info
  • Israel Comes Out of the Closet
    This film is a pro-gay film masquerading as a thriller. While Israel struggles for survival as a Jewish State, Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni wants to substitute Israel as a a homosexual haven in the eastern Mediterranean. This film should help and please the Europeans, too....more info
  • Serious and introspective on multiple levels
    Walk on Water is the kind of film that critics will enjoy much more than the average viewer. It's a serious movie, one dealing with a whole assortment of complex issues far bigger than the characters themselves; I found it surprisingly morally ambivalent, though. It has many ways to make the viewer feel uncomfortable, and some folks don't like that feeling. And, truth be told, I don't think it went as deeply into these characters' minds as it could have, and that gives the final scene something of a false ring. Is it an excellent film? Yes. Did I enjoy it? Not so much.

    Lior Ashkenazi plays Eyal, an Israeli agent specializing in quiet assassination. After returning home following a successful mission against a Hamas leader, he finds his wife dead by her own hands and a farewell note (the contents of which we hear only at the end of the film). He internalizes his grief and continues work - only his boss has now given him an assignment he cares little about. A Nazi war criminal has disappeared from his home in Argentina, and the boss thinks that the man's grandchildren may provide the key to his location. And so it is that Eyal takes on the role of an Israeli tour guide to show Axel Himmelman (Knut Berger) the sights when he arrives to visit his sister Pia (Carolina Peters) in Israel - even though Eyal really doesn't care about exacting justice on a long-ago killer with one foot already in the grave. He and Axel develop a strange kind of relationship over the course of a couple of weeks, though. Axel is the kind of guy who wonders how desperate the Palestinian suicide bombers must be to do what they do, while Eyal considers them animals. Eyal wants to know what it was like when Axel first came to understand what his countrymen had done during World War II, but neither man seems all that passionate about the subject. The two men also discuss much more than I cared to hear about homosexuality, as Axel is openly gay - even taking a Palestinian friend during his visit. I should also add that I saw far more of these men than I wanted to, as I never expected to see a scene featuring full frontal nudity in this film - but it's there. I really could have done without that.

    The film did let me take a gander at several historic sites in Israel, but the latter half of the film shifts to Germany. It is there that Eyal will have to come to terms with all of the feelings churning inside him since his wife's suicide. Ultimately, he faces a moral choice that forces him to reexamine his whole life. In the end, I can't say I really know how to interpret this film, as it asks deep questions without providing answers (largely because there really are no answers). This is an almost exclusively psychological film; don't expect to see a lot of action scenes. The story is about tearing down walls, coming to terms with the past, and - albeit slightly - looking ahead to a better future. To me, though, the whole thing was just too morally ambivalent, as the film tries to take on too many big issues at one and the same time....more info
  • Lives that Touch and Change
    Eyal is an assassin for the Israeli secret service, and is put on a mission to find an elderly Nazi known for his war crimes that has been in hiding, and suspected of still being alive. After the suicide of his wife, Eyal, a man who has never been able to cry, finds his life changing through the circumstances and people he meets on the mission. The award-winning "Walk on Water" is a tri-lingual film so brilliantly written and cast, that there is not a single scene that is not relevant, and it captures one's attention from start to finish.

    Lior Ashkenazi is fantastic as Eyal, and Knut Berger gives a sensitive, terrific performance as Axel, the grandson of the old Nazi. Also good are Caroline Peters as his sister Pia, and Gideon Shemer as Menachem, Eyal's boss. Peters and Berger also had a hand in writing the marvelous script. Directed with perfect pacing by Eytan Fox, one also gets a cinematic tour of Israel, and parts of Berlin, which add to the interest of the film.

    "Walk on Water" is a psychological drama, as well as a spy thriller, and touches on many facets of human life. Eyal, the man who "kills everything that comes near him," discovers life within himself, and comes to acceptance of himself and others, through Axel, his opposite in every way. In Hebrew, English, and German with subtitles, this film is worthy of one's time and stands up to many viewings, thanks to its taut, intelligent script and superb acting. Total running time is 103 minutes, and though the box says there is a "Making-of Featurette," my DVD does not include it on the menu.
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  • Highly recommended
    I enjoyed the film very much and would highly recommend it. After reading the various reviews, I am reminded that the viewer sees a film through his own filters. I didn't walk away with many of the impressions that appear throughout the various reviews.

    What I liked best, was what one reviewer seemed to like least. I found that the director was very subtle in dealing with many issues that can provoke strong reactions: homosexuality is not a theme, more of a fact. The Jewish/German issue is aging, but not dead. The Israeli/Palestinian issue is very much alive. The occupation continues, as do the suicide bombings. Or, the suicide bombers continue, as does the occupation. The viewer is not manipulated on any of these issues. They are brought up as they are.

    It's a good movie, and I'm surprised that it didn't come to a theatre near me (Germany). I think it would appeal to the "mass movie audience".
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  • A pleasant surprise
    Walk on Water has it all, action, emotion, drama. It's a movie that spans two continents and three languages. The first half is a little slow (introducing characters and dilemnas). The second half is the better half. A good movie about humans and how they act and change....more info