With a fitting title, get ready for a film that shifts tones with ease, from the often charming to mostly unpredictable and sometimes dark. Zero Motivation is about a female unit within the Israeli army and how the characters react and interact within their job, mostly through the eyes of the two female leads, the child-like Daffi (Nelly Tagar) and the anti-authority Zohar (Dana Ivgy).
Based on the personal experiences of writer-director Talya Lavie from her own time in the Israeli army, Zero Motivation tells the story of female Israeli officers stationed in a remote desert b as they count down the boring days until they can return back to civilian life. Daffi’s big dream is to be stationed in Tel-Aviv and often writes letters to anyone in the army who may listen to her pleas of being allergic to the dry conditions of the desert base. Her best friend, Zohar, uses her time to play Minesweeper and ignores anything and everything that’s asked of her from their officer in command, Rama (Shani Klien), who has big dreams of progressing in the Army, but faces a tough challenge with a group of highly unmotivated soldiers.
Zero Motivation takes an introspective look at the role of females in the army and questions their place. It’s hard to really see the end game and where the film will end up but, in that way, it’s quite enjoyable, to not really know what twists and turns will arise.
The film can be sharp and intelligent at times and then with ease can turn dark and thoughtful, before hitting back with some slapstick humour. Daffi is a daydreaming, immature and sometimes spoiled brat while Zohar is bitterly frustrating and quite irritating as a character, but there’s more than meets the eye. There are politics on show in the film, but nothing towards the conflict regarding the middle east or religion.
Not everything that happens in Zero Motivation will translate well to a worldwide audience such as Zohar’s bit on her childhood, but that can easily be overlooked. At the heart of it, it’ll be easy for audiences to connect with a story about being frustrated with our lives and where we are, stuck in a job we hate and wishing for something better.
The characters can too be easily connected with as we’ve all met a Daffi, who dreams ‘big’ while doing nothing about it and we all know a Zohar with her screw-everything attitude. Most of all, we all know that while everything looks bleak, having someone to share the pain with and having someone to help you get through the day can make it just a little bit better.
Zero Motivation is in cinemas now.