Review: Advocate

Title: Advocate
MPAA Rating: Not Yet Rated
Director: Rachel Leah Jones, Philippe Bellaïche
Starring: Lea Tsemel
Runtime: 1 hr 50 mins

What It Is: For over four decades lawyer Lea Tsemel has advocated for the rights of those accused of politically motivated crimes. From murder to arson and assault Lea will use all the legal tools at her disposal to assure a fair and just trial. What happens when a young 13-year-old boy gets accused of a horrific crime. What about his 15-year old friend, shot dead by Isreali police? As we learn of her past as a political activist and overall humanitarian in this centuries-long conflict.

What We Think: Overall the story told is done well…it’s just…kinda slow. I also was not a fan of the drawn segment (ala A-Ha’s “Take on Me”) those didn’t add anything. Often when looking back at her past the scenes felt disjointed. Looking at the editing it was good but certainly not great particularly in a film such as this where editing had to be absolutely on point. Lea is, however, a truly interesting and inspiring figure. One worthy of the spotlight the film casts on her…even if her humility probably doesn’t think so.

Our Grade: C+, Overall it’s just an okay documentary. One that does SOME things well but is not nearly up to the quality of other documentary films screened at the Sundance Film Festival. See Hail Satan? as an example of an expertly crafted and decently paced doc. For those that would like some first-hand history of the conflict between Isreal and Palestine, I would recommend checking this out. Likewise, I find that the film avoids making villains out of either side. A fair and refreshing perspective of things to be sure. More informative than entertaining it lacks a bit of the enthralling nature one would expect from the subject manner.

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