The Summer of the Israeli Starlet

Paly, Kertesz, Gadot

Paly, Kertesz, Gadot

What do Pain & GainFast and Furious 6, and World War Z have in common?

They all feature impressive performances by actresses who hail from the Holy Land.

Bar Paly

Bar Paly

Pain & Gain‘s muscle-bound stars The Rock, Mark Wahlberg, and Anthony Mackie have gotten most of the attention for their performances in Michael Bay’s wildly entertaining examination of the American Dream. But Bar Paly stole the show for me: her stripper-cum-fake-secret-agent routine was delightful throughout, injecting a bit of femininity into the testosterone-laden action-comedy.

Gal Gadot

Gal Gadot

I’m on record as describing the Fast and Furious films as “James Bond films for the Ryan Lochte set.” And no one in the series makes a bro stand up and go “Jeah” like Gal Gadot. It helps that her character’s relationship with Sung Kang’s character is the closest thing to a real, live relationship in the entire series.

Daniella Kertesz

Daniella Kertesz

There’s an interesting debate surrounding World War Z and the state of Israel. Some argue that the film is a subtle critique of Israel’s policy of building walls to keep out external threats. Others argue that the picture is a paean to Israeli openness and tolerance. There is another line of argument that suggests greater Israeli openness and tolerance could lead to its destruction. Is World War Z, as Matthew Cooper suggests, “the most pro Israel Hollywood film since the Entebbe movies”? Is it a “sly allegory” criticizing Israeli policy, as James L. Gelvin suggests? Or is it “Zionism pornography,” as an “Angry Arab” reader suggests?

I don’t have the answers to these questions.* But I do have the answer to this question: Who is the breakout star of World War Z? It’s Daniella Kertesz, without a doubt. As I wrote in my review, “The most pleasant surprise comes from Daniella Kertesz, who plays an Israeli captain that tags along with Gerry through much of the last two acts. She doesn’t have a ton of dialogue, but her wide eyes and hard face make her the perfect complement to Pitt and a fine wing woman for a global jaunt.”

*Well, if you twist my arm: I think it’s pro-Israel and not at all a commentary on Israeli’s security barriers.