We can only hope real life is more exciting for Mossad agents than what they experience for most of director Eran Riklis’ fictional film “Shelter.”
After completing a mission in Lebanon, Mossad agent Mona Rice, played by renowned Iranian actress Golshifteh Farahani, is whisked away to a safe house in Hamburg, Germany, where she awaits further instructions. But Rice’s innate paranoia and her recovery process after surgery to alter her identity create challenges for her protector, Naomi, played by Israeli actress Neta Riskin.
As each day passes, Rice and Naomi must work together to maintain their secret identities from hotel guests and passers-by on the street. As time goes on, Naomi and Rice gradually forge a relationship as they disclose their deepest, darkest secrets to each other.
When the time comes for Rice to leave the safe house, however, Naomi realizes that her mission isn’t everything it appears to be.
Rice’s worst fears come true when her ex-husband, Hezbollah terrorist Naim Quassem, played by Israeli actor Doraid Liddawi, learns her whereabouts and assembles a team to find and kill her. As Naomi and other Mossad agents race to keep Rice safe, they also find themselves in a worst-case scenario.
While “Shelter” is well crafted, each scene takes too long to develop and fails to capture a viewer’s attention. Moreover, the actors’ performances and the plot are dull and predictable, and although the narrative delivers an unusual story of revenge and self-sacrifice, this is one spy movie I wouldn’t hold my breath for.
(Atlanta Jewish Film Festival screening: Jan. 27, 1 p.m., Atlantic Station; Feb. 3, 5:55 p.m., Atlantic Station; Feb. 9, 3:45 p.m., Tara; Feb. 11, 8:20 p.m., Springs; Feb. 15, noon, Springs)