Etyan Fox’s follow-up to his LGBT Israeli hit Yossi & Jagger follows Mossad agent Eyal, who is assigned to pose as a tour guide when young German Axel comes to Israel to visit his sister, who’s working on a kibbutz. Axel’s grandfather was a Nazi war criminal and Mossad wants Eyal to gather info on whether the old man is still alive.
A friendship begins to develop between the two men, although cultural differences soon raise their head, especially when Eyal discovers Axel is gay, something he’s not comfortable with. When the German makes friends with an Arab, Eyal reaches the end of his tether. However eventually he decides to visit Axel in Germany, which may also give him a chance to lay to rest his guilt over the death of his wife.
An interesting and complex film, the movie may not handle its occasional thriller elements particularly well, but as a character drama it’s very good. Eyal is a great character, trying to get over a recent death and having difficulty dealing with his long-stand attitudes to things such as Germany and gay people.
The ending in Germany works well on a character level, although feels a tad OTT compared to what’s gone before. Despite this, the central friendship between Axel and Eyal is extremely well handled, touching on all manner of issues, such as how the younger generation of Germans deals with the country’s past and how Israel’s cultural identity is partly built on getting justice against the Nazi, and is now in flux due to the fact nearly all the war criminals are dead. Through all the potential conflict and confusion, the film brings out the central fact these are two human beings who have a connection and does it extremely well.
Overall Verdict: Despite occasional issues with tone, Walk On Water is a wonderfully complex, multi-layered drama dealing with everything from cultural identity to sexuality in an intelligent and absorbing way.
Reviewer: Tim Isaac