Ashkenazi walks on water

Just watched Eytan Fox's 2004 movie "Walk on Water". A good story, clever twist, and an impressive performance by Lior Ashkenazi, whom I had never seen before. Hardly a revelation to critics on the big screen beat, but new to me.

The film itself was gentle, strong in parts, tense in others--not a masterpiece by any stretch, despite some masterly moments. Some poor timing, particularly by the support role played by Knut Berger, spoiled a good script; Berger's English, though fluent, seemed to cause him to race (almost trip) into his lines a little over enthusiastically and unnaturally. But his presence and obvious acting talent more than made up for that minor detail.

Still, it was Ashkenazi that stole the show for me, with a roller coaster performance, gliding from the stone-wall and heartless to the confused and emotional, all with those flickering subtle facial expressions and strummed tone of voice.

I read somewhere that the Israeli superstar (whose family originates from Turkey) was greatly influenced by De Niro's "Raging Bull". Makes sense: he certainly seems to have the ability to hold a fairly solo role, drawing in attention, carving out his character with a mixture of rage and humanity. Certainly an actor worth watching.

There does not seem to be much on him out there on Google, though, just a few bits and bobs. Anyone know when he was born even? Yahoo says Born...then, nothing. Maybe it's his business. Anyone have any more on Lior's background beyond links below?

Perhaps he needs to be cast in a movie with a stronger, more demanding mission. Okay, "Walking on Water" was beautifully shot for the most part, with some dreamy (if not completely original) scenes by the water at the Dead Sea and Galilee. But the film had a TV feel about it. The Berlin scenes were quite uninspiring, the camera and sound failing to capture that city's impressive urban and "bohemian" atmosphere in the way the producers seemed to want. However, the party in the German villa was cleverly set up. Here Knut Berger was at his best; he reminded me a little of Michael York in "Cabaret", partly for his similar looks, but also his sense of irony.

What is holding Lior Ashkenazi back from a much larger role? Probably not much. Loads of talent, energy, looks, precision. Hollywood might like him to choose a new name. And his English might require a little surgery, though then again, there are trainers to help stars overcome that. Just look at Juliette Binoche, or Arnie! Lots of actors sound great in movies, only for their real accent and foreign grammar to come tumbling out all over the shop in interviews later on. That's acting I guess.


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