his grizzled chin up against Assi’s or Shmulik’s to read them the riot act, it is like Brett Favre chewing out a rookie in the huddle.
On his first visit, Jamil gives them their immediate mission, to roll through a Lebanese town that is said to be under control, and on to a hotel called St. Tropez, where they will get a good breakfast. “It’ll be a cakewalk,” he tells them. He may be a grizzled veteran, but he’s obviously never seen a war movie. A cakewalk? Man, that’s just asking for it.
Other intruders include a Syrian prisoner and an Israeli corpse. The corpse is on Shmulik’s conscience; it belongs to a soldier who died because of the young gunner’s failure to fire on an approaching car when ordered to. Paralyzed by his civilian conscience, Shmulik can’t pull the trigger, and the ensuing firefight outside has lethal consequences. The corpse is brought into the tank but not left there for the duration; it’s hitched to a harness and hauled up by a helicopter that we hear but never see. “Angel coming up” is the terse phrase barked over the intercom.
The only relief we get from the interior of the tank is the view through the gunner’s viewfinder, which pans across the carnage and pauses to frame particular horrors in the crosshairs of its scope. It’s a necessary device, but one which comes to seem forced and unrealistic after a while.
As the mission goes from bad to worse, the strain begins to show on the crew, and their personalities emerge in sharper focus. Hertzel is the wise guy, the barracks lawyer. The driver Yigal, who seems to be the youngest, asks Jamil if he can get a message
Hatching a plan: Zohar Strauss