Metascore
91

Universal acclaim - based on 27 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 26 out of 27
  2. Negative: 0 out of 27
  1. Reviewed by: David Hughes
    Apr 8, 2013
    100
    Insightful, revelatory and profound, Moreh's Oscar-nominated documentary combines riveting interviews, archive footage and - yes - state-of-the-art photographic effects to offer a unique perspective on the Israel-Palestine issue.
  2. Reviewed by: Steven Rea
    Feb 28, 2013
    100
    If vigilance and preemption, recompense and retaliation is not enough, the film asks, then what is?
  3. Reviewed by: Ty Burr
    Feb 28, 2013
    100
    It’s about spycraft, but it goes to the source. If for no other reason, it deserves to be seen for arranging decades of events in the Middle East into a chronology that, to an outsider, makes dreadful sense.
  4. Reviewed by: Laremy Legel
    Feb 26, 2013
    100
    There are many films that rail against the inherent injustices of any given power structure. Much rarer are the documentaries like The Gatekeepers which expose that the faithful stewards of a certain foreign policy no longer believe in said policy. This is an important film, showing the constant reaction and counter-reaction of each side.
  5. Reviewed by: Michael Phillips
    Feb 21, 2013
    100
    This is a great and necessary document in support of a two-state solution. Even those who don't believe in such a solution may find their minds changed by The Gatekeepers.
  6. Reviewed by: Omer M. Mozaffar
    Feb 20, 2013
    100
    The Gatekeepers has a cold air to it: washed-out colors, tan ominous soundtrack, eerily floating satellite footage… The most chilling aspect, however, is the blunt commentary about the work itself.
  7. Reviewed by: Marc Mohan
    Feb 16, 2013
    100
    For a film that consists largely of a series of talking-head interviews, The Gatekeepers is a riveting a documentary.
  8. Reviewed by: Lisa Schwarzbaum
    Feb 6, 2013
    100
    The film, by seasoned cinematographer Dror Moreh, is a feat — of access and of passionate and appropriately unsettling political commentary.
  9. Reviewed by: Joe Morgenstern
    Jan 31, 2013
    100
    The Israeli journalist Dror Moreh has hit a documentarian's trifecta with The Gatekeepers. It's an exemplary piece of enterprise journalism, a vivid history of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and a polemic that's all the more remarkable for the shared experience of the polemicists.
  10. Reviewed by: Todd McCarthy
    Dec 20, 2012
    100
    This is one hot, provocative, revelatory and astonishing documentary, one sure to provoke enthralled interest and controversy wherever it is shown worldwide.
  11. Reviewed by: Justin Chang
    Dec 20, 2012
    100
    While no film from the narrow perspective of Israeli intelligence could purport to offer a thorough view of the conflict, what makes The Gatekeepers ultimately so compelling is its pervasive sense of moral ambiguity.
  12. Reviewed by: Kenneth Turan
    Nov 26, 2012
    100
    A documentary potent enough to alter how you see the world.
  13. Reviewed by: Peter Rainer
    Feb 1, 2013
    91
    The pessimism pervading this film is summed up by Shalom, who says, speaking of the decades of occupation: "The future is very dark."
  14. Reviewed by: Scott Tobias
    Jan 30, 2013
    91
    The six men have different personalities that suggest varying styles of leadership, but what's remarkable about The Gatekeepers is how they speak in one voice about the moral complexities of their former jobs and their extreme pessimism about the future.
  15. Reviewed by: Bill Goodykoontz
    Mar 1, 2013
    90
    Using the interviews along with news footage and occasional re-enactments, Moreh conducts a kind of primer in the organization’s history, which is, in its own way, a history of modern Israel. It’s fascinating.
  16. Reviewed by: Michelle Orange
    Jan 29, 2013
    90
    The existence of The Gatekeepers is its own chief statement. You don't get the sense that it's any easier for these men to question Israel's leadership from the safety of retirement.
  17. Reviewed by: Calvin Wilson
    Mar 14, 2013
    88
    Although The Gatekeepers lacks the stylistic inventiveness of “Fog,” it is nonetheless a compelling account of what can go wrong when power is unrestrained.
  18. Reviewed by: Peter Travers
    Feb 1, 2013
    88
    The Gatekeepers cuts deeper than any political thriller. It's a powerhouse.
  19. 88
    Using archival footage, inventive animated recreations of incidents and chilling aerial smart-bomb views of air strikes as they happen, Moreh creates a simple yet elegantly damning film.
  20. Reviewed by: Farran Smith Nehme
    Nov 26, 2012
    88
    The filmmaker doesn't speculate about why these men are talking, but he leaves you with an excellent guess.
  21. Reviewed by: Joshua Rothkopf
    Jan 29, 2013
    80
    You'll be arguing with your friends about the ethics of secrecy and defense for hours; that's what makes these exit interviews so essential. They come late to the spy game, but are welcome regardless.
  22. 80
    The Gatekeepers doesn't play like agitprop. The storytelling is strong, the images stark. The camera roams among multiple monitors showing multiple satellite views while an ambient score works on your nerves.
  23. Reviewed by: A.O. Scott
    Nov 26, 2012
    80
    If you need reassurance or grounds for optimism about the Middle East, you will not find it here. What you will find is rare, welcome and almost unbearable clarity.
  24. Reviewed by: Rick Groen
    Feb 28, 2013
    75
    As a political testament, the result is revealing and important. Yet as a documentary, it wanders here, there and everywhere – long on intensity but short on focus.
  25. Reviewed by: Mick LaSalle
    Feb 21, 2013
    75
    Until this film, these Shin Bet directors had never consented to an interview. Now that they've spoken - and have said the unexpected - we can only wonder if their words will have an influence.
  26. Reviewed by: John Semley
    Nov 26, 2012
    63
    Even when the so-called Gatekeepers offer up damning testimony against their organization, there's no real threat that they'll ever be held accountable for it.
  27. Reviewed by: Joe Neumaier
    Nov 29, 2012
    60
    A fascinating and informative, if sometimes stodgy, documentary about the most secret wing of Israel's anti-espionage unit.
User Score
6.5

Generally favorable reviews- based on 22 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 6 out of 8
  2. Negative: 1 out of 8
  1. Feb 4, 2013
    10
    Still, for all the exploits and moments of success, the prevailing tone at the end is one of near-despair over the future of Israel on the part of knowledgeable patriots who have spent their lives manning the ramparts. The climactic comments of all six participants lament weak-willed leadership, an Israel that's become a “police state,” and a point at which “We've become...cruel.” Full Review »
  2. Jul 19, 2013
    1
    Dramatic documentary about colonial occupation and murder of indigenous inhabitants told without remorse. Its a movie one would expect in a parallel universe where the bad guys won but horrifying it exists in ours. Full Review »
  3. Mar 16, 2013
    10
    An absolute must for anyone who has followed the Israeli/Palestinian conflict, but from the mouth of one side looking back on history, and from people who should know, and who are amazingly frank and self reflective. Former leaders of Shin Bet, the Israeli secret service, are interviewed and are surprisingly candid, wise, philosophic and even rueful about their business. A cautionary tale indeed and quite appropriate in this day of occupation,drones and special ops. Now if we could only get something similar from the other side! Full Review »