Time Of Favor

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Time Of Favor

A love triangle, a suspense film, and a political debate all rolled timidly into one, the Israeli film Time Of Favor takes gentle steps onto controversial ground before retreating back to time-tested formula. Its attempt to deal with the region's big issues might be commendable, but ultimately, writer-director Joseph Cedar has created a film that resembles a subtitled very special episode of JAG. As Time opens, a promising young soldier (Aki Avni, who looks like a lost member of the Sheen family) has been placed in charge of a company of the Israeli army made up of biblical scholars, but his promotion lays the groundwork for a potential tragedy. Among his closest friends, Avni counts a bespectacled diabetic (Idan Alterman) with, as company rabbi Assi Dayan mentions on several occasions, the potential to be a powerful religious teacher. Admiring his intellect, Dayan attempts to pair Alterman up with his mopey daughter (played by an actress with the presumably assumed name of Tinkerbell). When Tinkerbell's attentions shift to Avni instead, Alterman comes even more intensely under the sway of Dayan's teachings, and concocts a plan to fulfill the rabbi's talk of retaking Jerusalem's Temple Mount. Time veers into allegorical territory when the radical Alterman and the more moderate Avni begin vying for Tinkerbell's attention, and it never really veers back through a padded action finale. Its sympathies clear, its outcome never in question, and its ability to stage action scenes limited, the film has nowhere to go once it sketches out its themes and players. As a catalyst for discussion, Time Of Favor has some value, but the mildness at its heart keeps it from effectively addressing the issues it raises.