TIFF Review: Waltz With Bashir

A lot like Persepolis in vision, animation and narration, Waltz With Bashir exceeds everyone’s expectations: result? The greatest animated film to date. Sure, it won’t be looked back on in 10 years as The Lion King was a few years ago, but it will be held in a much higher regard from those who do recall it as “an animated film that changed animation”. Though it comes out at an inconvenient time – only a few months after Pixar’s most acclaimed film to date, Wall·E – it may be overshadowed by the popularity and critical acclaim of it. However, Ari Folman does an absolutely wonderful job at ducting the film at every seam, polishing it and making it as flawless as he can. Though the story has some minor flaws, the direction is beyond unlike anything you’ve ever seen, while staying constantly enthralling and ambiguous. Most people speak of ambiguity as a negative thing when they cannot think of a compliment to give a film they hoped to enjoy beforehand – I assume you this is not the case in my praise.Waltz With Bashir is a tragic story about one man suppressing his darkest memories to the point of an amnesic state. He starts asking questions: “What happened during the war?”, “Was I there?” & most importantly “Was I the cause of all this death and chaos?”. The film eludes the audience, as is the mind process of the main character. Not knowing bothers the viewer, but everything is unraveled at a moderate pace, resulting in you pleading for more knowledge. Combined with a unique soundtrack, realistic sounds and frames, as well as containing one of the most haunting final scenes I’ve ever seen, the film is a recommended viewing for everyone that is into cinema avidly.

Though a semi-documentary (though the entire film is animated), Waltz With Bashir doesn’t have any of the lagging qualities most documentaries have. The discussions about the war, the interviews with top notch psycho-analyzers and old war buddies, well every piece of dialogue is complete. It goes on not a second too long, nor a second too short. Blended with imaginative war footage and atmosphere that doesn’t stay in the cinema, Folman dances with his story until his heart’s content. ****/****