As a television movie, Oslo is one of the rare productions to manage an almost objective perspective on the middle eastern conflict while recounting true-life events.
As someone who grew up in the middle east, I am conditioned to take sides. However, years of reading about the conflicts in that area of the world forced me to take a step back and try to understand where everyone comes from. And this is what led me to watch Oslo.
Recounting the true-life, previously secret, back-channel negotiations in the development of the pivotal 1990s Oslo Peace Accords between Israel and the PLO, the movie sometimes struggles to smoothly transition from the stage to screen, but Ruth Wilson and Andrew Scott bring an engaging verve to this historical snapshot of high-stakes diplomacy.
To be honest, I didn’t know much about those events. Well, they WERE classified until recently. But if I take the movie events with a grain of salt, it took both sides a lot of compromises to get to an imperfect agreement that moved the needle. Considering that they’ve never met until this meeting, it’s extraordinary.
As for the movie itself, it’s impossible to do justice to the details of this complex, long-running dispute, but it is gripping. In addition, it is at its strongest when it uses their individual journeys during the negotiations to serve as metaphors for the complicated emotions and human suffering intertwined in the larger Israeli-Palestinian mess.
Should you watch it?
Oslo manages to skillfully wring plenty of compelling tension out of the premise while illustrating how entangled diplomacy can be. Too bad the film delivers only a brief picture of the complexities of the drama.