Silent tension erupts between a father and son both nominated for the same prestigious award in the Oscar-nominated foreign film Footnote, a compelling drama that is engaging until it isn't.
Shlomo Bar-Aba stars as Eliezer Shkolnik, an Israeli scholar who has always been denied the recognition many feels he deserves. When he receives a phone call informing him that he will be the recipient of the prestigious Israeli Award, which sounds important because it's called the Israeli Award, the grumpy professor is elated. Unfortunately, his son and rival professor Uriel, played by Lior Ashkenazi, is soon informed that he actually was meant to be the one to receive the prize.
Bar-Aba and Ashkenazi turn in fine performances in their respective roles, with Ashkenazi stealing the show. The anger simmers just beneath the surface for both men, but Ashkenazi's character is faced with the bigger dilemma and the actor rises to the task, delivering an impressive and gripping performance.
The movie, written and directed by Joseph Cedar, is also gripping. It's just so unfortunate that Cedar left the ending off his film. Footnote concludes in the most unsatisfying manner, largely without wrapping up or even addressing the core conflict that is the hook of the film. The nebulous ending might have worked on paper, but it leaves little to be desired in its final state.
Footnote is a very well made and very well acted movie, and in some ways, for a film about silent truths, it ends just as it should, but the climax is so unsatisfying, so without resolution, that it feels like Cedar took the easy way out at a big price.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.
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