Waltz with Bashir

2008

Waltz with Bashir (2008)

TOMATOMETER

Critic Consensus: A wholly innovative, original, and vital history lesson, with pioneering animation, Waltz With Bashir delivers its message about the Middle East in a mesmerizing fashion.

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Director Ari Folman's animated, quasi-documentary Waltz With Bashir follows the filmmaker's emotional attempt to decipher the horrors that unfolded one night in September of 1982, when Christian militia members massacred more than 3,000 Palestinian refugees in the heart of Beirut as Israeli soldiers surrounded the area. Folman was one of those soldiers, but nearly 20 years after the fact, his memories of that night remain particularly hazy. After hearing an old friend recall a vivid nightmare in which he is pursued by 26 ferocious dogs, Folman and his friend conclude that the dream must somehow relate to that fateful mission during the first Lebanon War. When Folman realizes that his recollections regarding that period in his life seem to have somehow been wiped clean, he travels the world to interview old friends and fellow soldiers from the war. Later, as Folman's memory begins to emerge in a series of surreal images, he begins to uncover a truth about himself that will haunt him for the rest of his days. ~ Jason Buchanan, Rovi

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Critic Reviews for Waltz with Bashir

All Critics (149) | Top Critics (41)

Persepolis meets Full Metal Jacket in Ari Folman's powerful and original animated war film.

Sep 14, 2010 | Rating: 3.5/4

These depictions of the dementia of war have a hallucinatory power that can stand alongside those of Apocalypse Now.

Jul 6, 2010
Newsweek
Top Critic

The message of the futility of war has rarely been painted with such bold strokes.

Jul 6, 2010

Special, strange and peculiarly potent.

Jul 6, 2010

The look of Waltz with Bashir is what is most arresting. It's a deep, multi-plane style of animation that incorporates photo-real settings, realistic renderings of the people and under-animated movement, especially of faces.

Jul 16, 2009 | Rating: 4/5

A wholly original and emotionally devastating animated documentary confessional.

Feb 20, 2009 | Rating: B+
Detroit News
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Waltz with Bashir

½

This animated movie tells the story of a film-maker visiting former comrades from the time of Isreali-Palestinian war. For some reasons, Ari does not remember details of a certain battle and hopes for his old friends to fill in the gaps. In the shape of a quasi-documentary he interviews the former soldiers and slowly pieces the puzzle of a special massacre together, told in flashback sequences. The animation is very unusual but quite brilliantly solved, simplistic yet effective and impressive. In many regards this film does not have to hide behind the classic war films to describe the terrors. To add real footage of the victims of the massacre in the last seconds was not really necessary, though.

Jens S.
Jens S.

Super Reviewer

Waltz With Bashir is an animated documentary (possibly made out of guilt) that artfully accounts the filmmaker's forgotten, but haunting memory of the 1982 Lebanon War, Sabra and Shatila Massacre. Ugly history presented with irresistible creativity and charm. A strong and powerful work that explores the psychological trauma by warfare. The God-awful screams at the end are haunting.

Jan Marc Macababayao
Jan Marc Macababayao

Super Reviewer

½

Lavish and innovative animation only strengthen what is a bold and hard hitting document of the atrocities of war and the toll conflict takes on the mindset of those thrust into the middle of it. A gorgeous and powerful work of art.

Michael S
Michael S

Super Reviewer

½

The Israel & Palestine conflict never makes an easy topic for discussion. It tends to split people, and split quite passionately. This however, doesn't address the politics of the conflict but focuses more on the atrocity and brutality of war. On realising he has no memory of serving in the Israeli Army during the First Lebanon War in 1982, Ari Folman tracks down his old buddies to hear their stories of the conflict, and try to solve the mystery of his own psychological blindspot. This is a documentary that's one of the most original of it's kind, thanks in large to it's strikingly powerful artwork. It consists of a serious of investigative interviews with director and war veteran Folman and his comrades who served with him during the conflict and like the stories they relate, the interviews are also included in the animation. Had the interviewing been done without employing the use of animation, this may not have held our interest as much as it does, and helps bind the film into a coherent and visually stunning experience. Having served as an Israeli soldier, Folman wisely doesn't justify his actions. If anything he abhors them. As he pieces the stories together, the revelation of his deep rooted memories are harrowing and no wonder he developed temporary amnesia. He psychologically blocked his memories due to the atrocities and sheer brutality of the massacre - that he witnessed - of Palestinian men, women and children. Despite, the heavy subject matter and the backdrop of war and barbarism, there are still scenes of such power and surreal beauty. A gruesome, visually stunning film, that captures an eerie feel throughout and despite being shocking, it carries a very important message. Unlike anything you'll have seen before. Superb!

Mark Walker
Mark Walker

Super Reviewer

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