Rabin, The Last Day
Director: Amos Gitai
Year of release: 2016
Running time: 2 hours 32 minutes
Focusing on a two-decade old tragedy with the investigative eye of a documentarian as well as the fury of a genre filmmaker, Amos Gitai's sprawling Rabin, The Last Day is as much about the unending cycle of Israeli-Palestinian violence as it is about the assassination of Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin on November 4th, 1995. The Nobel Prize-winning figure who hoped to enact a Peace Treaty with Palestine under the Oslo Accords remains an elusive presence throughout; with sparse archival footage giving us insights into the man who caused such an uproar. However, Gitai's ambitious and brilliant film really isn't about Rabin. Instead, his interest lies in the ways in which corruption, fear, and violence gradually corroded Israel from the inside out.
Mixing styles, tones, and genres at will, Rabin, The Last Day is exhausting at 153 minutes, but also densely absorbing. Using his background in documentary filmmaking, Gitai gives us a wealth of information, only to upend expectations by casting actors in key roles; (Dalia Shimko is sublime as a clinical psychiatrist claiming Rabin was borderline schinzofrenic). Ultimately, the Prime Minister's honorable message of peace in a world divided by hate and fear-mongering remains as powerfully resonant as ever.