By Admin | January 20, 2014

When a bespectacled computer-geek randomly encounters a sloppily attired wiseguy, the results are earth shattering—and not in a good way.

Oren Carmi’s debut film Goldberg & Eisenberg takes place in Tel Aviv, with the opening action at a very sedate and pretty park. It is here that lovers meet at quaint little park benches, and dog walkers like Goldberg (Yitzhak Laor) hope to meet women who can actually tolerate his marginal appearance and gloomy philosophical rants. A lonely middleclass software clone, Goldberg practically makes it a career to find the “right girl,” but his attempts always end with the prospects either ditching him entirely, or fleeing at top speed after hearing his thoughts about the universe.

And so it goes, until one day Eisenberg (Yahav Gal) appears, hoping to find a friend in Goldberg. At least that’s what we think… Eisenberg is every bit the opposite of the starched-collared Goldberg. Aside from his slovenly appearance and slacker ways, the man is a pest—and a mean one at that. Goldberg tries every way possible to show Eisenberg that he’s not interested in friendship, and that his only reason for coming to the park (aside from walking Audrey, his German Shepherd) is to meet women. And even when Goldberg magically meets Noa (Ronny Dotan), an attractive brunette who does not depart even after experiencing Goldberg’s contemplations about human and extraterrestrial existence—Eisenberg simply will not leave Goldberg alone.

So how does all this end?

Not good—not for any character involved—and that’s putting it mildly.

Much like its characters, Goldberg & Eisenberg is a tricky little suspense thriller that bounces between very dark humor and intricate horror. No one is completely who we think, and there are shocks at every turn. What I particularly love about the film is its very subtle ambiguity both in character studies and in the screenplay. Questions I continue to ask myself are: Who is the real victim, Goldberg or Eisenberg? Are these really random occurrences? And what’s going on with Noa, that pretty young thing with the self-avowed sixth sense. Finally, what’s with the movie’s oh-so-creepy, yet speculative ending?

Another very strong point is the suspense factor, which never seems to subside, even with that overly long segment toward the conclusion (which actually threatens the film’s tempo), when we really do get the point that Goldberg is suffering. Another powerful force is the cinematography which, at every juncture, accentuates mood, suspense, character and overall society.

While every actor in the film does a great job of implicating us in Carmi’s very disturbing drama, I have to say that Yahav Gal’s interpretation of Eisenberg is Oscar-worthy. With barely a flicker in his large pensive eyes, Gal is able to span a gamut of personalities, from gentle pleading to psychopathic. All of this, done without edgy makeup, is reminiscent of only one actor that I can think of—the legendary “man of a thousand faces,” Lon Chaney.

I strongly recommend Goldberg & Eisenberg to everyone who enjoys intelligent, edge-of-the-seat psychological thrillers, with a pronounced secret message. I’d also keep an eye on the very talented Oren Carmi, who’s sure to bring us something even more mind-boggling in the future—if that’s even remotely and humanly possible.

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