Goldberg and Eisenberg (Israel)

Goldberg and Eisenberg is the sort of film that's well done, but makes me wonder why I watched it. Not because of the filmmaking but because I probably could have found something more personally rewarding than watching a two people escalate towards the point of possible bodily harm for no particular reason. The film is listed as black comedy wasn't the sort of thing that actually made me laugh. I can chuckle I think about the bleakness of the human condition at times - but generally not much to laugh at here. Except perhaps Eisenberg's association with what I'm assuming is the sole Nazi in Israel.

Things start to go wrong for Goldberg right from the beginning. A free lance middle aged programmer he's frankly a bit of a schlump. Out to meet an online date he's sitting alone in a darkened park where by day he walks his dog (and only visible friend). It's looking a lot like she's not coming - but along into the scene wanders Goldberg. A big, crude sloppy sort of fellow who exudes menace of an ill defined kind. Or perhaps he's just trying to make a friend also. Either way the two of them rub each other the wrong way rather quickly. Begging off the encounter I'm sure Goldberg is pretty sure he'll never see this guy again. But of course that's not the way this thing goes. 

Before you know Eisenberg is showing up everywhere Goldberg goes. Making Tel Aviv a much smaller city than I'd thought or suggesting a stalker at work. Goldberg tries to ignore it, tries to be pushy, even tries going to the police. Each a more spectacular failure - the last resulting in the inference from the cops that it's actually a lover's quarrel. Which isn't totally crazy as it does feel like Eisenberg is after something a bit more than basic respect from Goldberg.

There's a lot of over the top machismo at work - coupled with paranoia, loneliness and more than a touch of mental illness on the part of Eisenberg. Neither man seems 100% sure why they loathe the other side so much. But at the same time can't bring themself to walk away or keep from responding. Leaving always one final sleight that needs to be avenged. Not that differently I suppose from the thousands years of conflict in the area - from two groups that trace themselves back to a common ancestor

The film doesn't really remain neutral. While Goldberg can be his one worst enemy and pretty hopeless with women it's Eisenberg who starts and keeps things going. Either being inherently insane or just unable to see why Goldberg is increasingly being backed into a corner. The conflict is milked for a number of increasingly shockingly disturbing moments - leading up to a true point of no return.

I won't say much more about lessons to learn here - or where the story goes. Except that sometimes turning the other cheek may be the better part of valor. Oh, and if you stab someone perhaps don't call an ambulance for someone who's likely to come back on you later. The film is well made technically, and the tension between the pair is extremely palpable. I'd say they have chemistry, in a very, very negative way. Overall it was an interesting watch, but not something I'd recommend going out of one's way to see. Unless this sort of extreme discomfort onscreen is your thing. Don't worry ... if it is, I won't judge.

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