Rated PG-13 | Time: 1:41
In Hebrew and English with subtitles
“The Green Prince” is a narrative documentary thriller that effectively employs many elements of a John le Carré spy novel: international intrigue, arresting twists and turns and characters with complicated motivations.
The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is a backdrop for this headline-grabbing tale involving Gonen Ben Yitzhak, an agent with the Israeli security force Shin Bet, and his prize intelligence recruit, Mosab Hassan Yousef, the son of a Hamas leader.
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Director Nadav Schirman doesn’t identify these men with cue cards or bring in experts or push a political agenda; instead, he launches into a complex, sometimes murky story about a spy and his handler. The results are riveting.
With movie star looks and a troubled past, the well-spoken Yousef makes for a compelling subject. He seems to be basking in the attention a little too much — and he’s never easy to read. Did he spy on his father and Hamas only because he was put off by the Palestinian group’s violence — or were there other reasons?
Likewise, agent Gonen Ben Yitzhak often speaks in a distant, clinical way about his recruit, yet he risks his career to help protect him. Is it because of a deep bond with Yousef, or his ambivalence about Israeli intelligence methods, or something else?
This a film that leaves many unanswered questions, but it’s nonetheless satisfying, because it resonates emotionally and offers a ray of hope that the human spirit has the ability to trump entrenched political perspectives.
(At the Glenwood Arts.)
| David Lewis,
San Francisco Chronicle
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