Sunday, March 18, 2012
The Israeli Oscar nominee “Footnote” manages to turn Talmudic philology into edge-of-your-seat stuff. It’s the clever story of father-and-son scholars whose unspoken rivalry reflects diametrically antithetical worldviews, lifestyles, and pedagogical approaches. When the wrong one is mistakenly told he’s won a cherished scholarly prize, we’re given a backstage pass to dilemmas, deal-making, and sacrifices. Though it could have been profitably cut by 15 minutes or so toward the end, “Footnote” is a movie of visual and storytelling wit and delicious humor that makes arcane textual analysis somehow thrilling.