Never Stop Dreaming: The Life and Legacy of Shimon Peres review – a whistle-stop biography of the perfect leader?

July 13, 2022
Kira Comerford 0
Film Reviews, Netflix, Streaming Service
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Summary

Never Stop Dreaming: The Life and Legacy of Shimon Peres is like a taster lecture for a university course.

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3

Summary

Never Stop Dreaming: The Life and Legacy of Shimon Peres is like a taster lecture for a university course.

Netflix documentary film Never Stop Dreaming: The Life and Legacy of Shimon Peres was released on the streaming service on July 13, 2022.

Netflix has released Never Stop Dreaming: The Life and Legacy of Shimon Peres, a documentary film chronicling the life, work, and legacy of the former Israeli Prime Minister and President Shimon Peres.

The documentary opens with a montage of interview clips before hitting its stride with its first chapter. After the title card lifts, the first few minutes are reminiscent of an idyllic fairytale; images of rolling hills and luscious Belarusian countryside with the sound of almost orchestral music playing in the background. It’s like a story that’s about to introduce its folk hero protagonist, which would seem very fitting given the man presented in the film.

Never Stop Dreaming: The Life and Legacy of Shimon Peres explores the two elements that make the man himself — his life, and what that built that would outlive him. With his life, his work is subsequently covered, as this was such a huge part of what made Peres the man that the world knew. The documentary goes to great lengths to shed light on the individual and his motives, and whilst it would seem that there is no disputing the fact Peres did much of what he did with great conviction because he believed in it so strongly, I can’t help but feel a slightly more balanced view would’ve been a nice thing to incorporate. The film touches on the opposition he faced throughout his career, and also how he dealt with it, but we never really hear from any of the individuals who made up that opposition. If his devotion to the cause of creating an Israel for the future was as great as was depicted here, it would’ve been very interesting to see what Peres’ political opponents made of him, as despite being his opponents, he never seemed to treat them as his enemies. 

The film doesn’t move along at a great pace. Considering the documentary’s length, and also the life led by its subject, the film features a relatively small selection of interviews that don’t offer a huge range of perspectives. They are also built around a narrative that is propped up by archive footage and photos, with the interviews themselves being more like a thread to weave these together, rather than visual assets enhancing the story being told by its narrators. Whilst it is clear that the documentary is intended as an educational celebration of Peres, I’m not sure how much effort was made to really scratch beneath the surface of what is essentially already out there if you look hard enough.

All in all, Never Stop Dreaming: The Life and Legacy of Shimon Peres seems to be a sound if brief intro to Peres and the work he did for Israel. There is, however, no denying that — just like the history of any country — Israel’s past plus all of the individuals who played a key part in it is a vast topic and as such I’m highly doubtful that this documentary is as in-depth as something like it could be. There are times where it comes across as being a little overly-romanticised, and I question the contributions of so many Western leaders that don’t seem to have been balanced out very much, but if you treat it as a taster, it probably isn’t too bad overall.

What did you think of the Netflix documentary film Never Stop Dreaming: The Life and Legacy of Shimon Peres? Comment below.

You can watch this documentary with a subscription to Netflix.