Foxtrot review – desert heat sears a family in crisis

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Samuel Maoz brings a weird but exhilarating style to the mysterious story of an Israeli soldier and his anxious parents

Foxtrot is a movie from Israeli writer-director Samuel Maoz that is structurally fascinating yet also structurally flawed: its accumulations of ambiguity and mystery are jettisoned by a whimsical final reveal. But, before the retrospective letdown, there is an exhilarating kind of disorientation as we move from one narrative section to the next.

It is presented in three parts. We see the fraught existence of a successful middle-aged architect and his wife in Tel Aviv whose son is away doing military service; then the fraught existence of this son’s unit, out in the middle of nowhere guarding a border post; and then we are back with the architect and his family. It is a triptych of scenes of which the first and third are very theatrical, like a conventional stage play, and the second – the centrepiece, perhaps – is visually weirder, at times almost hallucinatory.

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