Metascore
68

Generally favorable reviews - based on 21 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 16 out of 21
  2. Negative: 0 out of 21
Watch On
  1. Reviewed by: Sheri Linden
    Mar 6, 2014
    60
    The movie has the taut efficiency of a well-constructed crime thriller, while its real-world underpinnings play out with a less convincing sense of urgency.
  2. Reviewed by: Joshua Rothkopf
    Mar 4, 2014
    60
    Densely plotted by director Yuval Adler and Ali Wakad (the former Israeli, the latter Palestinian), this informant crime drama finds admirable complexity in the folds of its shifting allegiances — even if you’ve seen this dynamic done better in movies like "The Departed."
  3. Reviewed by: Stephen Dalton
    Dec 29, 2013
    60
    Strip away the Middle East backdrop and Bethlehem is a fairly routine thriller about good cops, corrupt bureaucrats and armed criminal gangs.
  4. Reviewed by: Robbie Collin
    Dec 29, 2013
    60
    You’re left wishing that Adler had focused more on the no-win moral tangle of the handler-informant relationship, and less of the mechanics of its execution.
  5. Reviewed by: Farran Smith Nehme
    Mar 6, 2014
    50
    It’s a slickly plotted ticking-time-bomb thriller with a crisp look and one standout debut performance, by Hitham Omari as a ruthless leader of a terrorist cell.
User Score
7.5

Generally favorable reviews- based on 8 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 3 out of 3
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 3
  3. Negative: 0 out of 3
  1. Nov 26, 2014
    7
    Bethlehem joins a recent string of Israeli films (such as Footnote and Ajami, to name a few) to leave a significant mark in the United States.Bethlehem joins a recent string of Israeli films (such as Footnote and Ajami, to name a few) to leave a significant mark in the United States. While the deeper themes relating to terrorism and the fight against it remain a mere plot device, Bethlehem's focus on loyalty, brotherhood, and betrayal reap some interesting, if somewhat slight, results. The plot is too complex for it's own good, at least in the first third. After things settle down, we begin to truly grasp the motivation of each character. I find it interesting how the film manages to humanize the terrorist brotherhood without demonizing them, yet simultaneously portraying them as the antagonists who are committing horrible acts and should meet justice. While the finale is satisfying in a sense, I feel as though numerous elements of the plot are unresolved. It could have gone on for a decent half-an-hour and seen out the repercussions of the final act of violence that concludes Bethlehem and more properly concluded the narratives of a couple other side-characters, particularly Badawi. No matter, though. Flawed as it is, Bethlehem still resembles some of the finest filmmaking Israel has to offer. Full Review »
  2. Mar 23, 2014
    8
    “Bethlehem” is a German/Belgium/Israeli film which tells the story of an Israeli agent and his Palestinian “asset” and the intense,“Bethlehem” is a German/Belgium/Israeli film which tells the story of an Israeli agent and his Palestinian “asset” and the intense, complicated and involved relationship the two experience. Well directed by Yuval Adler who also co-wrote the film with Ali Wakad, the film stars Tsahi Halevi as the Israeli agent and Shadi Mar’l as his teenage informant.

    More than just an interesting view of this relationship, the film attempts to help the viewer understand the clashing cultures among those in the Israeli government, Hamas and the Palestine Authority as the 3 jockey for control and jurisdiction in this troubled part of the world. I give the film and 8 and suggest that it be seen by all who are seeking a better understanding of the almost impossible situation in the middle East and why, in the land of miracles, it will take one to bring peace to that part of the world.
    Full Review »
  3. Mar 13, 2014
    8
    One can characterize this movie as a physiological drama or a thriller. Two main characters are Razi, Israeli secret service officer, and hisOne can characterize this movie as a physiological drama or a thriller. Two main characters are Razi, Israeli secret service officer, and his teenage informant Sanfur. Sanfur's older brother is a leader in Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, responsible for many terrorist acts against Israelis and as such is wanted by Israelis. Sanfur is struggling with conflicting loyalty: on one hand, he loves his brother and wants his family to be proud of him (and the only way to get such respect is to take part in armed actions against Israelis). On the other hand, there has been an emotional bond between him and Razi who treats him better than his own father. He has to walk a very tight and dangerous rope as a double agent. And he is only a kid.

    Razi's feelings are also troubled: he is sympathetic towards the boy yet these emotions conflict with his professionalism. For Razi's boss Sanfur is only an asset but for Razi he is almost like a son.

    The movie allows us a glimpse into working of Israeli intelligence and, on the other hand, into conflicts among different Palestinian militant groups.

    Overall, the movie is a very strong debut for director Yuval Adler.
    Full Review »