Is Prime Ministers Opening Today Too Wordy or is New York Times Review Too Snarky?

Director Richard Trank helps make the magic in The Prime Ministers: Soldiers and Peacemakers.
Director Richard Trank helps make the magic in The Prime Ministers: Soldiers and Peacemakers.
Moriah Films

Yours truly dropped the matzah ball getting a screener of The Prime Ministers: Soldiers and Peacemakers and a Voice Media review is nowhere to be found, so let us turn to The New York "By God" Times for supreme enlightenment on the documentary opening today in Irvine.

Rather short, the piece by Ken Jaworowski says the follow-up to filmmaker Richard Trank's The Prime Ministers: The Pioneers is chock full of photos, documents and film clips.

Sounds great!

After all, the best documentaries often include those things. But Jaworowski's review mostly can be summed up in a line that could resonate in a university town like Irvine. He calls The Prime Ministers "the film equivalent of being cornered at a dinner party by a long-winded professor unaware that he's never stopped talking."

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Ouch!

I suppose Jaworowski's professor in this instance would be the late Yehuda Avner, who narrated and whose book The Prime Ministers, which is about his experiences serving as an ambassador for Israel's prime ministers Yitzhak Rabin and Menachem Begin, inspired both films.

Producers consider the newer film, which is the 14th production of the Simon Wiesenthal Center's two-time Academy Award-winning Moriah Films, extra timely given the current election cycle, focus on the Middle East and 20th anniversary of Rabin's assassination.

Here is the trailer:

The Prime Ministers: Soldiers and Peacemakers - TRAILER from Richard Trank on Vimeo.

As for that Times review, the Weekly asked Trank for his review of Jaworowski's review. Seems only fair. Here's what he wrote back:

The review of the film in the NY Times was both nasty and uninformed. The reviewer seemed to resent that he had been given an assignment to watch a film about a subject in which he had little interest or knowledge and the snarkiness of his review reflected that. The irony is that the film's first part was given a generally positive review. And the style of the filmmaking from the first part to the second didn't change.

While there film has had some criticism, it has also garnered for the most part positive reviews in the Los Angeles Times, Hollywood Reporter, Jerusalem Post, Times of Israel, among other newspapers. The Prime Ministers: The Pioneers, the first part in the series, currently airs on Netflix and is one of the more popular documentaries currently streaming. This new film has been playing in theaters for more than a month and continues to open in new cities every week (just this week in Irvine, Phoenix and all over South Florida, next week in Chicago). While no filmmaker likes a bad review, you expect a critic to be fair. That wasn't the case with this NY Times critic.

Gray Lady down!

The Prime Ministers: Soldiers and Peacemakers opens today at Edwards Westpark 8 in Irvine. Your best bet would be to attend Saturday's 7 p.m. screening, which will be followed by an audience Q&A with Nimrod Erez, the film's editor and co-producer.

Whenever you go, judge for yourself how worthy (or, as Jaworowski would put, wordy) The Prime Ministers is. Heck, maybe it's worthy and wordy. How's that for a two-state solution?

Email: mcoker@ocweekly.com. Twitter: @MatthewTCoker. Follow OC Weekly on Twitter @ocweekly or on Facebook!


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