Set in 1982, during the first Lebanon War, Samuel Moaz’s film owes something to the sweaty claustrophobia of Das Boot. The action takes place entirely within the confines of an Israeli tank, its four young occupants reacting to their situation with varying degrees of stress and fear. All are relatively inexperienced and just want their mission, and their military service, to be over.
Moaz apparently based his screenplay on his own experiences as a gunner, and it is with the gunner character here that we most identify. His sight provides our only access to the outside world (apart from the occasions when someone descends into the tank from the upper hatch). The constant terror and disorientation is effectively achieved, while outside the violence and carnage present an imminent threat.
What didn’t wholly work for me was the lack of perspective on the quartet themselves; it’s one thing to be thrust into the tank, but there isn’t enough prepping of who these men are and how long they’ve been in this situation (aside from the gunner, who has just arrived). As a result, it occasionally feels more like an experimental exercise in performance and narrative than a wholly immersive piece of filmmaking.