Even though it was made in 2000, the Israeli film “Kippur” looks like it was made in the 1970s. It’s about the 1973 Yom Kippur War between Egypt and Israel, but to American eyes (like mine,) it looks an awful lot like Korea – or Vietnam. And it’s about a medical evacuation unit on the front lines.
All that adds up to a movie that looks an awful lot like an episode of the TV show M*A*S*H. Except the characters speak Hebrew, and it’s not funny. Not funny at all. It’s a very sobering look at the terrors of war, including such mundane terrors and getting stuck in knee deep mud while trying to evac a dying man, and getting separated from your unit so completely you don’t know if they’re headed in the same direction you are.
Oddly, the film opens and closes with sex scenes featuring people smearing paint on each other. I have no idea what connection these scenes are supposed to have to the grim war film between them. They look like they belong in a ’70s softcore porn flick.
This is not a great war film. This is not a great film, period. The filmmakers are relentlessly focused on showing just how horrible war is, and that’s hard to sit through for two hours. What’s worse, they don’t give us much reason to care about the characters. They are not sharply drawn; one blends into another pretty easily, and we never get to know anybody. It would be against the film’s ethic to include anything like a dramatic battle or a heroic act of self sacrifice. “Kippur” barely has a plot. It has one point: war sucks. Fortunately, there are plenty of other war movies that manage to make that point, and to make it powerfully, while still offering us a modicum of entertainment. “Kippur”‘s makers might think entertainment is below them, but the end result is an inferior – indeed, a barely watchable — movie. Maybe they can get it screened in history classes in Tel Aviv.
Verdict: Not Recommended. Watch “The Big Red One,” or “Platoon,” or “The Thin Red Line” instead.