The Flat is a straightforward doc about Israeli filmmaker Arnon Goldfinger’s discovery of his grandparents’ secret friendship with a Nazi official. After Goldfinger’s grandmother passes away, he and his family begin clearing out her Tel Aviv apartment, where they find Nazi propaganda and correspondence with an SS officer. Although the work sets up an intriguing mystery, it struggles to keep the viewers’ attention, namely because most of Goldfinger’s discoveries and speculations seem like they’d be more interesting to family members. The most engaging moments surface when the director’s mother and the daughter of the Nazi official express a lack of interest in their parents’ friendship. Goldfinger’s mom seems indifferent, claiming the past is in the past, and the daughter of the official denies her father was a member of the SS — even after Goldfinger shows her a handwritten letter that proves it. The doc is held up by subtle moments like these, but even the strongest points get lost among tedious family anecdotes and a meandering narrative that simply fails to pull the film together.
Although the work sets up an intriguing mystery, it struggles to keep the viewers' attention, namely because most of the director's discoveries seem like they'd be more interesting to his family members.
City Paper Grade: B-
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