×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Someone to Run With

Mystery, romance and a golden Labrador race through the byways of Jerusalem in Israeli helmer Oded Davidoff's "Someone to Run With."

With:
With: Bar Belfer, Yonatan Bar-Or, Tzahi Grad, Rinat Matatov, Yuval Mendelson, Danny Steg, Neomi Polani.

Mystery, romance and a golden Labrador race through the more seamy byways of Jerusalem in Israeli helmer Oded Davidoff’s “Someone to Run With,” a breezy cross between “Lassie” and “Oliver Twist.” Based on David Grossman’s bestseller, pic moves briskly in parallel arcs as a lad follows a lost dog bounding through the mean streets in search of its mistress. Well-structured dual-time sense and highly appealing perfs by tyro teen leads (Bar Belfer was nominated for an actress Ophir) make for a noirish, enjoyable adventure. Curiously wholesome walk on the dark side could find an arthouse squat.

Taking a summer job at the pound, Assaf (Yonatan Bar-Or), an amiable 17-year-old whose goofy grin wards off all manner of discouragement, sets out to track down the unknown owner of Dinka the dog. Pulled along willy-nilly by the anxious canine, Assaf is regaled by neighborhood folk with tales of Dinka’s owner, Tamar (Belfer), a street-singing waif with a guitar and a mysterious agenda. Already a pushover for the tail-wagging Labrador retriever, Assaf increasingly feels drawn to the damsel in distress whose steps he is retracing.

Flashbacks to Tamar alternate with Assaf’s quest as he passes through the same Jerusalem exteriors. Tamar, like Joan of Arc, has shaved her head for a rescue mission of her own, and allows herself to be swept up by a Fagan-like character, Pesach (Tzahi Grad), who shelters street musicians as a front for a more nefarious trade.

Holding the troubadours virtual prisoners, Pesach has them perform in selected public squares while his thugs deal drugs on the fringes of the gathered crowds. Tamar’s roommate Shelley (Rinat Matatov) fiercely embodies the hopelessness of these lost kids.

Pic has been promoted as an expose, a nightmarish descent into the soft underbelly of Jerusalem. Yet no matter what horrors Assaf and Tamar encounter in their tandem storylines — Assaf chased, beaten and threatened at every turn, Tamar bullied and imprisoned, watching friends and loved ones ravaged by drugs — both juves remain oddly untouched and untouchable. They come off as almost childishly heroic, wearing their goodness (and their class status) as impenetrable shields, envied and admired by those weaker beings enslaved by drugs and/or cowardice.

Thesps Bar-Or and Belfer manage to inject their characters with enough wistfulness, sweetness and compassion to prevent their strength from reading as self-righteousness.

Tech credits are fine. Yaron Scharf’s color-leached HD lensing grounds pic in the topography of Jerusalem’s “other” side.

Someone to Run With

Israel

Production: A JCS, HOT production. Produced by Andrew Braunsberg, Philippa Kowarsky, Shmulik Shem Tov, Orly Bruck, Oriana Ghivoly. Executive producers, Gaby Rosenberg, Alon Shtruzman. Co-producers, Mirit Toovi, Efrat Rabinovich. Directed by Oded Davidoff. Screenplay, Noah Stollman, based on the novel by David Grossman.

Crew: Camera (color, HD), Yaron Scharf; editor, Ron Omer; music, Ran Shem Tov; production designer, Shahar Bar-Adon; sound (Dolby Digital), Aviv Aldema; casting, Orit Azoulay. Reviewed at New York Jewish Film Festival, Jan. 10, 2008. Running time: 116 MIN.

With: With: Bar Belfer, Yonatan Bar-Or, Tzahi Grad, Rinat Matatov, Yuval Mendelson, Danny Steg, Neomi Polani.

More Film

  • Woolsey Fire Malibu

    Many Malibu Areas Still Off-Limits for Filming After Fire

    The California Film Commission has maintained its ban on filming in several Malibu areas hit by the massive Woolsey fire in Southern California last month. The commission announced Tuesday that due to continued clean-up and repair work along Pacific Coast Highway, permits for filming on the highway are not being issued at this time. PCH [...]

  • Against the Clock

    Film News Roundup: Andy Garcia's Spy Thriller 'Against the Clock' Bought by Gravitas

    In today’s film news roundup, Andy Garcia’s spy thriller is sold, “Battlestar Galactica” gets a screenwriter, and Brooklyn Decker gets an award. ACQUISITION More Reviews London Theater Review: 'The Cane' Film Review: 'The Wedding' Gravitas Ventures has acquired North American rights to spy thriller “Against the Clock,” starring Andy Garcia, Dianna Agron (“Glee”), and Justin [...]

  • 'Pacific Rim Uprising' film premiere

    John Boyega in Talks to Star in Legal Drama 'A Naked Singularity'

    “Star Wars” actor John Boyega is in talks to star in the legal drama “A Naked Singularity” with Ridley Scott’s Scott Free Productions on board to produce. The movie is based on Sergio De La Pava’s debut novel, which centers on a successful New York public defender whose life begins to unravel after he loses [...]

  • Penny Marshall Dead Obit

    Remembering Penny Marshall, Who Forged Her Own Path and Paved the Way for Others

    She was a natural comedian — fearless and funny, willing to trade on her natural Bronx brogue to craft a sassy and street-wise character that was tailor-made for sitcoms. But Penny Marshall, who died Monday night at the age of 75, proved throughout her long career that she had so much more in the way [...]

  • Aquaman 2018

    'Aquaman' Outpacing 'Wonder Woman' in Fandango Pre-Sales

    Pre-sales of “Aquaman,” which opens on Thursday night, are outpacing “Wonder Woman” at the same point in the advance ticket sales cycle on online ticketer Fandango. “Wonder Woman” opened with $103 million domestically during the June 2 to June 4, 2017, weekend on its way to a $412 million North American total for Warner Bros. “Aquaman,” [...]

  • European Union Placeholder

    Europe, Hollywood Hail Landmark E.U. Territorial Licensing Agreement

    Industry organizations and major companies in Europe and Hollywood welcomed Tuesday a high-level European Union agreement that in large part preserves producers’ ability to sell movies and TV shows on an exclusive territory-by-territory basis. Territorial licensing is a financial backbone of the film and TV business in Europe. Recognition of such licensing came last Thursday in [...]

  • Box Office: 'Aquaman,' 'Mary Poppins Returns'

    Box Office: 'Aquaman' Battles 'Mary Poppins Returns' in Crowded Holiday Weekend

    It’s the most wonderful time of the year, and the most competitive time at the multiplexes. This weekend sees two very different heroes vying for the box office crown with “Aquaman” and “Mary Poppins Returns” both eyeing sizable debuts. “Mary Poppins Returns” is getting a head start by opening on Wednesday, though estimates show “Aquaman” [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content