As one-sided rivalries go, Eliezer Shkolnik (Shlomo Bar Aba) has it bad. He's a philologist whose only claim to fame (in his own mind) is a citation in a footnote; his son Uriel (Lior Ashkenazi) is a prolific and popular Talmud professor catering to the latest academic trends. Only one of them can win the Israel Prize. Writer-director Joseph Cedar (Beaufort) cleverly recounts Eliezer's backstory through the sliding frame of a microfilm viewer; it's when Footnote moves forward that it stumbles, with so many loose threads you could take it in for shatnez testing. Comic Bar Aba's one-dimensional stone face, tightly framed in the manner of deadpan Scandinavian comedies, grows monotonous, while Ashkenazi (Walk on Water), unrecognizable under a beard and excess pounds, is sent off on wacky detours like spying on his father while wearing a fencing mask. Footnote finally gets back on track as Eliezer puts his philological skills to use, but it's too little, too late.