The first film that I viewed in 2018 in a pre-screening before the Israeli premiere was Shelter (original title ‘Mistor’). It is directed by , a director whose previous works The Syrian Bride and The Human Resources Manager I liked. Those were movies inspired by the Israeli reality, complex and emotional at the same time. The latest was based on a novel by A.B. Yeoshua. With Shelter Riklis tries a very different type of movie, a combination of psychological thriller and action movie, and the result was for me quite disappointing.

 

source http://www.imdb.com/title/tt6249434/mediaviewer/rm3618842368

source http://www.imdb.com/title/tt6249434/mediaviewer/rm3618842368

 

Yet, I can understand what intended Riklis with this story (he also wrote the script). The encounter between the Israeli Mossad agent and the Lebanese collaborator that she has the mission to defend while recovering from a plastic surgery that aims to change her physiognomy creates the premises of the meeting of two women who are separated by almost everything in their personal biographies and yet have so much to share as personal traumas. Women fighting in the secret wars have no easy time, and there is very little literature or film that dealt with these topic if at all. There is no feminine version of John Le Carre and of his heroes if you want.

 

(video source unitedkingfilms)

 

While the intentions and premises are interesting, the execution lacks pace and the building of the relationship that is supposed to take place in the sheltering apartment in Germany is never credible on screen. I am not sure who is to blame for this, maybe more time should have been spent in the claustrophobic enclosure of the house and the inserts describing the menace closing on the two women could have been less or ignored at all. The two actresses ( and especially ) do a reasonable job, but the chemistry that would have made their relationship credible is missing. The final quarter of the film switches pace and turns the whole story into an action movie, but lacks credibility. Psychological thrillers and action spy movies are two very different genres and their mixing does not work.