24 December 2015 | cremebluray
It's a great show, but a little bit amateurish
I gave it a 7 because 7.5 is not possible.
I watched this show not knowing it was related to Homeland, and that gave me a good perspective. Having watched Homeland later and enjoyed both, I can say that they're two completely different shows with only one thing in common - the return of prisoners of war.
This could've been a much better show, because the ingredients were all there, but maybe the next generation of Israeli TV shows will learn from Hatufim's mistakes.
The sets/lighting are very TV-y and amateurish. It's not as good as American TV nor as good as Israeli cinema. It looks low budget, and that's sad, because the story is great.
The story is too slow. I'm not looking for a bus chase, but the slowness is the wrong kind of slowness. It's not suspense, dialogues, facial expressions, music, letting a thought or an idea sink into the minds of the viewers - it's just slow. There are scenes that are too long, such as a character looking at photos on the internet or another looking for stuff in the trash. There's no reason why these scenes should be that long.
The music is nothing special. There's little use of music. There's some Arabasque Middle-Eastern themes, but it's a bit cliché and only gives us the idea that we're on the Syrian side - it has no mood or message. The soundtrack is anonymous and forgettable, when it could've been used to deliver a message.
The cinematography is mediocre. There are very few establishing shots. Lots of indoor scenes.
The torture scenes go too long and are repeated too often.
There's a lot of repetition in some themes, such as the suffering of one of the families.
The budget of the production was tiny, but cutting out repetition would not have cost much.
Having that said, the story is brilliant. The characters are great, well-written and the actors do a great job of portraying them. All those negatives I mentioned could not get in the way of a great story, which is what this is.
An actual remake of this that avoids those mistakes I highlighted would get a 9 or 10 from me. Homeland is not that remake - it's a different show with its own story and is in a separate genre. Homeland is more of an action/terrorsploitation show, while this show is a lot more subtle, more personal, more about the returnees and their families than "We have 24 hours to find the bomb." More action would not have made this show better. But this is a very, very good show and there's nothing like it on TV.