“Concerned Citizen” (“Ezrah Mudag”)
Rotten Tomatoes (3/5), Metacritic (6/10), Letterboxd (3/5), Imdb.com (6/10), TMDB.com (3/5)
A desire for creating surroundings that are nice, tidy and pleasant is certainly laudable, but what if that drive for pristine perfection goes south, with the emergence of unexpected circumstances and consequences that seriously undercut such intentions? Such is the case when a gay couple, Ben (Shlomi Bertonov) and Raz (Ariel Wolf), move into a Tel Aviv neighborhood just beginning the process of gentrification. As expectant parents, they hope their child will grow up in a civil, multicultural area free of crime and bad influences, backed by positive attributes, such as a clean, safe environment. Ben even does his by part by going so far as to plant a tree to add to the ambiance. But, when he witnesses neighbors treating it badly, he grows incensed and informs the authorities, igniting a firestorm of issues that prompt him to question his supposedly liberal values, raising questions about fairness and tolerance vs. privilege, not to mention hypocrisy. While the story is somewhat light on plot, it nevertheless subtly by effectively addresses issues related to one’s character and authenticity. True, writer-director Idan Haguel’s third feature outing probably could have benefitted from a more developed narrative, but its incisive look at what we say and what we actually do gives even the most self-righteous among us much to consider, especially when it comes to walking our talk. We can learn a lot from some well-considered reflection, and “Concerned Citizen” gives us a spot-on look at that question, one we should all take seriously from time to time.