By Dave B.
The Angel (Netflix) is based on the true story of Ashraf Marwan, a high official in the Egyptian government of President Anwar Sadat, who was also a Mossad agent. The film centers around Marwan’s role in attempting to foster peace between Egypt and Israel in the lead-up to the Yom Kippur War in 1973.
Most espionage films tend to ramp up the suspense, however The Angel is often more interesting than it is thrilling. Part of this is because it’s based on real-life characters and incidents, so if you have some knowledge of the historical time period, you have an idea of what will happen. That said, The Angel excels at providing insight into the personalities that helped shaped the politics of the time, the calculations that led to the Yom Kippur War, and how it was able to come as a surprise to Israeli forces. The Angel also sports some impressive performances, especially that of Marwan Kenzari, who plays Ashraf Marwan. And at just over 100 minutes, the movie doesn’t feel like it drags on, despite there being a lot more talking than there is shooting.
I don’t mind that The Angel is less exciting and violent than many modern spy thrillers. In fact, the only aspect of the movie that really gets under my skin is a “makeup” decision. Although Sasson Gabai is a wonderful actor and gives a strong performance as President Sadat, it would have been nice if the director went for a bit more historical accuracy and at least darkened Gabai’s skin for the role, because in real life Sadat’s skin was even darker than mine. That said, a good performance is a good performance and in no way am I diminishing the skill of Gabai’s portrayal of Sadat.
Overall, The Angel is pretty good. I can’t attest to all of its historical accuracy because I’m not an expert of 1970s Middle Eastern affairs or the personalities who were prominent in that era, but it seemed generally accurate and I feel that I learned a lot. So, I recommend this movie, especially for those who may want to learn a bit more of the human drama that took place at the highest levels of intelligence agencies leading up to one of the most pivotal wars in modern Middle East history.
I have no clue what I'm doing, but I'll keep doing whatever it is to the best of my ability.