Israel’s entry in the Best Foreign Language Academy Award race after the unceremonious dumping of the tender deadpan of “The Band’s Visit,” Joseph Cedar’s “Beaufort” is a vivid, intense portrait of soldiers not only in battle, but in retreat, that has a force matched only in war movies of recent months by passages in “Battle for Haditha.” Working from an Israeli bestseller and neatly arraying his archetypal soldiers, there’s a whiff of similar despair and visual asperity in Clint Eastwood’s underrated “Letters from Iwo Jima.” Yet Cedar’s depiction of Israeli soldiers under attack in Southern Lebanon by Hezbollah fire during a 2000 battle has its own virtues, among them a lengthy sustained take of destruction that is more powerful than the meandering sequence shot the makers of “Atonement” ought to be proud of but stop bragging about. Anger and absurdity mount. War and war movies will always be with us. 125m. Anamorphic 2.40 widescreen. (Ray Pride)
“Beaufort” opens Friday at the Music Box.