THE HOLY LAND tells the story of a rabbinical student who wants to experience life before settling down to his studies. He gets in way above his head, and as the consequences of his choices unfold, the movie clearly makes the point that “the wages of sin is death.” Getting to this point, however, is a depressing state of affairs.
The movie opens with orthodox rabbinical student Mandy masturbating. Eventually, when the Rabbi sees that Mandy can’t concentrate on his studies, he tells Mandy that in extreme situations, students sometimes visit a prostitute.
Mandy goes to a strip club and becomes enamored with a prostitute named Sasha. Eventually, he teams up with her and goes to work at a bar in Jerusalem, run by a Communist revolutionary named Mike. Mike is best friends with an Arab revolutionary and a Jewish provocateur. They all want Israel to explode so that their respective revolutions can pick up the pieces. In Mandy’s weakness, he allows himself to be used by everyone, and regrettably he uses Sasha in the process.
The rabbi comes to tell him he’s on the wrong track and must come back to the rabbinical school. He tells Mandy that Mandy is defiling the Holy Land and the Holy city of Jerusalem. Mandy doesn’t see the disaster consuming him and Israel, or the fact that his desires are leading him astray. Eventually, Mandy is condemned by his sin.
THE HOLY LAND is an extremely depressing and tawdry movie. To make its point, sin is shown in its naked ugliness. Strippers are shown in every possible position, as is sexual activity. The problem is that the vivid depiction of sin is so great that it could possibly entice those without moral bearings who watch the film.
Some of the acting, especially the Sasha character, is brilliant. Some is mediocre. The direction is uneven, as is the script. There are better ways to make the point that the wages of sin is death. Watching THE HOLY LAND is an unholy experience.
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SUMMARY: THE HOLY LAND explicitly tells the tawdry morality tale of a rabbinical student who wants to sow his wild oats before settling down to his studies. The vivid depiction of sin is so great that it could possibly entice those moviegoers with either weak or no moral bearings and is not recommended for the Media Wise viewer.
(B, AbAb, LLL, V, SSS, NNN, AAA, DDD, M) Morality tale with a tremendous amount of filth and degradation; 23 obscenities and three profanities; man kicked, scuffle in bar, and bomb blast in bus; masturbation, fornication clearly shown and oral sex suggested; full female nudity and upper male nudity; drinking; smoking and drugs such as hashish and marijuana; and, corruption, rebellion, and warfare.