Review: "The Little Traitor" is a tender tale of loyalty

  • Article by: COLIN COVERT , Star Tribune
  • Updated: June 3, 2010 - 2:53 PM

A boy learns some lessons in 1940s Israel.

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Alfred Molina and Ido Port in "The Little Traitor"

Photo: Westchester Films,

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Twelve-year-old Proffy Liebowitz (Ido Port), coming of age in Palestine just before the establishment of Israel, stages toy-soldier wars in which he mows down battalions of British occupation forces. The Brits, imposing curfews and imprisoning Jewish militants, are resented authority figures; in 1947, Jews and Arabs could still be good neighbors. When kindly Sgt. Dunlop (Alfred Molina) takes Proffy under his wing, the boy rethinks his assumptions, and his little playmates (who build homemade nail bombs) brand him a turncoat. "The Little Traitor" bounces between coming-of-age high jinks and clunky geopolitical lessons. When Proffy asks Papa why everyone hates the Jews, he replies, "The reasons change but the hate stays the same." Molina and Theodore Bikel, in a cameo as a strict community fixer, give the film moments of dramatic interest, but it is a lightweight, forgettable message picture overall.

★★ 1/2 out of four stars

Unrated by the MPAA; brief partial nudity. In English and Hebrew, with English subtitles.

Where: Edina.

COLIN COVERT

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