Rock The Casbah (2012)

Rock The Casbah

Summary: A recipient of the highly prestigious Art Cinemas Award at the 2013 Berlinale, Yariv Horowitz’s film Rock the Casbah is an impressive new war drama unconventional of its genre. Rock the Casbah follows Tomer (Yon Tumarkin) and his army unit during the first Intifada in 1989. When a member of the company is killed on patrol after a washing machine is thrown on him from a rooftop, Tomer is one of four men chosen by his commanding officers to carry out a surveillance operation to catch the perpetrator.

First-time feature filmmaker Yariv Horowitz injects a youthful vitality from his experience directing music videos to produce a tense action film recalling the visual style of Black Hawk Down and Pearl Harbour. The film succeeds in connecting authentically with the reality of the young soldiers and their absurd predicament, offering a genuinely riveting exploration of the hell of war. Rock the Casbah is one of the first Israeli films to realistically portray the conflicted experiences of IDF soldiers stationed in the Occupied Territories during this time. Horowitz positions/immerses viewers amongst the chaos and frustration endured on both sides of the line, jarringly profiling the Israeli-Palestinian conflict from the ground in a style that is uniquely his own.

Year: 2014

Australian Cinema Release Date: 3rd July, 2014

Australian DVD Release Date: TBA

Country: Israel, France

Director: Yariv Horowitz

Screenwriter: Guy Meirson, Yariv Horowitz

Cast: Khaula Al Haji-Daibsi (Samira), Shmulik Chelben (Israel), Henry David (Ilya), Yotam Ishay (Ariel), Roy Nik (Aki), Iftach Rave (Haim), Adel Abou Raya (Muchamad), Yon Tumarkin (Tomer), Lavi Zitner (Izac)

Runtime: 93 mins

Classification: MA15+




Greg King: You can check out Greg’s RockThe Casbah review on



Nick Gardener: You can check out Nick’s Rock The Casbah review on The Good The Bad The Ugly Film Show Ep #86



David Griffiths:

Many film lovers may be scared off by the fact that Rock The Casbah is yet another Israeli film that centres around the early days of the Israeli and Palestinian conflict revolving around the Gaza Strip. But this is more a film that is about showing what effect war can have on young soliders then it is picking sides in a conflict that is still raging today.

Set in 1989 Rock The Casbah tells the story of a group of Israeli Army rookies who are sent on their first mission, a mission that is described as a simple law and order excercise in the Gaza Strip. There main job is to bring a rowdy group of Palestinian protesters into line and literally show them who is boss.

But things get completely out of hand and soon the young group find themselves mourning the loss of one of their own, and then worse still having to stay in The Strip where everybody wants them out or dead.

One of the first things that hits you about Rock The Casbah is the directional style of its director Yariv Horowitz. This film announces Horowitz as a director to watch in the future as he really hits the ground running here with his feature film directional debut. Many young directors go for the softly/softly approach when trying to get their first film out there, not so here with Horowitz that has delivered a war film that is very much in the style of classics like Black Hawk Down.

With Rock The Casbah Horowitz takes his audience right into the middle of the conflict at heart and there are times during the film that the dialogue, drama and action are so realistic it does feel that you are watching a documentary or raw news footage. The opening half hour of this film is one of the tensest times that you will ever spend in a cinema. As Tomer (Yon Tumarkin) and his unit make their way through the narrow Palestinian streets guns in hand while Palestinian teenagers start to gather around them the tension that the film manages to generate is exceptional. There are more than enough heart-in-mouth moments to have even the most seasoned cinema goer sitting on the edge of their seat.

What makes Rock The Casbah even stronger is that even when the film reaches a pretty dramatic height about 30 minutes in Horowitz never allows the film to drop from there. For the remainder of the film he allows the film to explore how the events that follow affect the young soldiers at heart while also remaining impartial and giving an equal amount of screen time to how these events are received by both the Palestinians families and the Israeli soldiers that are wrapped up in the conflict.

Also proving that Horowitz is a promising director are the performances that he manages to get out of his young cast. At time the film’s harrowing nature becomes so intense that many young actors would struggle to deliver the performances that this cast does. They may be aided by some brilliantly written dialogue but the young cast also seem to be able to deliver anything that Horowitz asks them to do and they do it with complete ease.

When done the right way a war film can be a powerful piece of cinema. Luckily Rock The Casbah is one film that has certainly been done the right way. Yariv Horowitz’s debut feature directional film is a strong piece of cinema that creates the same amount of suspense as previous classics such as Black Hawk Down and Apocalypse Now. Rock The Casbah is a sensational film that explores both the emotional and physical toll that war can take on all involved in such a conflict, it also features a kick-ass soundtrack to boot.


Average Subculture Rating (out of 5):  Stars(3)


IMDB Rating:  Rock Ba-Casba (2012) on IMDb


Other Subculture Entertainment Reviews of ‘Rock The Casbah′: For our full Rock The Casbah review please check The Good The Bad The Ugly Film Show Ep #86