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Footnote (Blu-ray Review)

21 Jul, 2012 By: Ashley Ratcliff

Street 7/24/12
Sony Pictures
Box Office $2.01 million
$30.99 DVD, $35.99 Blu-ray
Rated ‘PG’ for thematic elements, brief nudity, language and smoking.
In Hebrew with English subtitles.
Stars Shlomo Bar-Aba, Lior Ashkenazi.

Scholar Eliezer Shkolnik (Shlomo Bar-Aba) has a chip on his shoulder, and rightfully so.

He never recovered from a career-stifling blow he was dealt when a colleague found a critical piece of information that would have helped his painstaking research into Talmudic Studies. Instead of doing what was right, Grossman (Micah Lewensohn) took the glory for his own academic gain — a move that forever marred Eliezer’s perceived impact in the field. After all his hard work, Eliezer was mentioned in a footnote of another researcher, and that’s his sole claim to fame.

And now Eliezer slowly is being eclipsed by the brilliance of his son, Professor Uriel Shkolnik (Lior Ashkenazi), who recently was inducted into the National Israel Academy of Sciences and delights in the praises of colleagues. The father and son have a competitive rather than affectionate relationship, and both are equally quirky in their teaching styles and beliefs.

In a twist of fate, however, Eliezer is nominated for the highly coveted Israel Prize, an accolade that he grew to hate after being snubbed consecutively for the past two decades. The father-son dynamic soon is tested, as a course-altering snafu emerges with the potential to bring Eliezer and Uriel closer or rip them apart forever. Uriel has the power to pick the result.

It’s in those decisive moments that the viewer becomes invested in the outcome of Footnote, a film with great heart. Both Bar-Aba and Ashkenazi expertly convey the sincerity of their character’s emotions.

An insightful behind-the-scenes featurette, with director Joseph Cedar in the driver’s seat, further explores that father-son relationship, the making of the evocative soundtrack, the actors getting “in character” and more.

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