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Follow Me: The Yoni Netanyahu Story

Half posthumous love letter, half historical re-enactment, "Follow Me" revisits Israel's near-mythic 1976 hostage rescue at Entebbe through the eyes of those who survived it, and one who didn't: Yonatan Netanyahu, the only Israeli officer killed in the raid.

Cast:
With: Benjamin Netanyahu, Ehud Barak, Ben Zion Netanyahu, Shlomi Reisman, Shimon Peres.

Half posthumous love letter, half historical re-enactment, “Follow Me” revisits Israel’s near-mythic 1976 hostage rescue at Entebbe through the eyes of those who survived it, and one who didn’t: Yonatan Netanyahu, the only Israeli officer killed in the raid. Netanyahu was also a brother of Israel’s controversial current Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, and he’s recalled, via his words and others’ affectionate recollections, as a man among men. Somewhat overly adoring in tone, this labor-of-love docu is a natural for Israel-centric venues, but will have little traction elsewhere.

The Entebbe story is riveting, retold by many who were there — or, like then-Defense Minister Shimon Peres, were involved in the planning. But for all the laudatory words about Yoni Netanyahu — scholar, leader, military strategist, war hero — the portrait by helmers Ari Daniel Pinchot and Jonathan Gruber seems bloodless. The letters written to his parents, girlfriends and brothers sound like they were written to be read publicly one day; Marton Csokas’ readings are actorly to the point of distraction. And almost every photo of the pic’s subject looms as though composed by Richard Avedon. A more intimate touch would not have gone awry.

Follow Me: The Yoni Netanyahu Story

Production: An Intl. Film Circuit release and presentation of a Crystal City Entertainment production. Produced by Ari Daniel Pinchot, Jonathan Gruber, Mark Manson, Stuart Avi Savitsky. Executive producer, Manson. Co-producer, Joe Becker. Co-executive producers, Richard Rieger, Heidi Rieger, Dennis Liebowitz, Andrew Berman, Lisa Berman, Mark Kingdon, Anla Cheng Kingdon, Thomas D. Stern, Denise R. Stern. Directed by Ari Daniel Pinchot, Jonathan Gruber. Written by Gruber.

Crew: Camera (color), David J. Goulding; editor, David Grossbach; music, Charlie Barnett. Reviewed on DVD, New York, May 6, 2012. (In Palm Springs Film Festival.) Running time: 87 MIN.

With: With: Benjamin Netanyahu, Ehud Barak, Ben Zion Netanyahu, Shlomi Reisman, Shimon Peres.

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