After the stellar The Rocket, anything following it would almost have to be a letdown and Yariv Horowitz’s Rock the Casbah was a less exhilarating experience. Focusing on four young Israeli soldiers stationed in Gaza in 1989, Rock the Casbah trots out a lot of cliches about the senselessness of war.
Opening with a prolonged chase scene through the streets that ends with the death of a soldier at the hands of rock throwing and ultimately washing machine throwing crowd. One of the first off-notes of the film comes early on when the doomed soldier puts his hands up as the washing machine falls instead of running as the person he had just caught had done. It seems like an easily avoidable fate.
The film picks up, however, when the four main soldiers are stationed on top of the home form where the washing machine was thrown. Not surprisingly, the family denies having any involvement in the incident and tensions boil between the soldiers and the family. The characters of the soldiers are thinly realized, mainly relying on stereotypes. The main soldier, Tomer (Yon Tumarkin) , is the good kid who tries to be nice to the family. Another soldier is the hot head. Another, the pot smoking and ineffective leader.
Despite the flaws in the film, it is fairly effective in conveying the absurdity of the situation and the story never lags. The characters may not be particularly well-developed but Horowitz creates sympathy for both the soldiers and the family.
Using the festival’s scoring system, I ranked this Good or 3 out of a possible 5.
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