Waltz With Bashir (18)

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The ViewLondon Review

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Review byMatthew Turner24/10/2008

Five out of Five stars
Running time: 87 mins

A beautifully animated, superbly directed documentary that is both deeply moving and utterly mesmerising.

What's it all about?
Directed by Ari Folman, Waltz With Bashir begins when Boaz (voiced by Mickey Leon) tells his filmmaker friend Ari about a recurring nightmare in which he is chased by 26 ferocious dogs. They decide that the dream must be connected to their military service during the Lebanese War in the 1980s, but Ari is disturbed to realise that he can't remember his own experiences, so he interviews old friends and colleagues to piece together the missing information.

As the truth starts to reveal itself, Ari realises that he must have been present at the horrific Sabra and Shatila massacre and is forced to come to terms with his own repressed guilt and fear over his actions.

The Good
It's thrilling to watch Waltz With Bashir, because it feels like being present at the birth of a new and exciting genre, the animated documentary. The animation is breathtakingly beautiful, depicting both realistic scenes and surreal, dream-like images, such as Ari floating on the body of a gigantic naked woman.

The violence in the film is genuinely disturbing and there are some horrifying images, not least the shots of the vicious, snarling dogs at the beginning of the film. As the film progresses, you're continually struck by how perfect a vehicle the animation provides for the various memories, conveying both the terror and the strange, unsettling beauty of the images (e.g. a beach-side scene bathed in the light of distant explosions and fires).

The Great
The interviews are also extremely moving (all but two are the actual people – the other two are actors delivering word-perfect recreations) and there's even the odd moment of humour. Finally, Folman orchestrates a stunning climax with an unexpected directorial masterstroke – it would be churlish to reveal it, but it's utterly devastating to watch.

Worth seeing?
Waltz With Bashir is a beautifully animated, stunningly directed and powerfully emotional film that is genuinely unmissable and if it doesn't get a Best Animated Feature Oscar nomination, there is officially no justice.

Film Trailer

Waltz With Bashir (18)
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Content updated: 24/10/2017 08:33

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