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Review: The Gatekeepers

By GERALD PEARY  |  February 26, 2013
3.5 3.5 Stars

Inspired by The Fog of War, in which Errol Morris got Robert McNamara to talk candidly about his policy role in Vietnam, filmmaker Dror Moreh contacted past heads of the Shin Bet, Israel's internal security force, asking if they'd speak on camera about their controversial work. Perhaps because Moreh had made a fair-minded documentary on Ariel Sharon, six "gatekeepers" of the Shin Bet agreed to his proposition, and the result is a remarkable behind-the-scenes peek at how Israel's in-house CIA/FBI has operated, both honorably and questionably, from the Six-Day War until now. Those interviewed are all highly intelligent, strikingly articulate, and, for the most part, principled individuals. And almost all concede to dirty work of which they are not proud, in dealing too harshly at times with militant Palestinians and in letting Israeli ultra-rightists get away with obvious crimes. Great cinema journalism, The Gatekeepers was the National Society of Film Critics' winner for Best Documentary of 2012.

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