Yonaton Shiray in <i>Foxtrot</i>.

Yonaton Shiray in Foxtrot.

Rated 4.0

Originally positioned as a contender for Best Foreign Film awards, Israeli writer-director Samuel Maoz’s surprising Foxtrot was unsurprisingly phased out of the race in favor of films that are much worse (don’t get me started on In the Fade). Foxtrot stars Lior Ashkenazi and Sarah Adler as Michael and Dafna Feldman, a Tel Aviv couple who hit with the news that their son Jonathan was killed while serving with the Israeli Defense Forces. The film’s opening movement follows the Feldman family through the first few hours of an overwhelmingly emotional grief process, up until the military informs them that it was a different Jonathan Feldman who died and that their son is still alive. That powerful portrait of grief gives way to an ecstatic and absurdist midsection that follows Jonathan during his military service at a lonely desert roadblock, and there are still a couple more wallop-packing twists to come.