The Engineer (2023) – Movie Review and Summary

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Emile Hirsch may be out to save Israel in “The Engineer,” but he can’t save this movie from being a disappointing thriller.

General Information

Director(s) Danny A. Abeckaser
Screenplay By Kosta Kondilopoulos
Based On N/A
Date Released (Video On Demand) August 18, 2023
Genre(s) Action


Film Length 1 Hour, 32 Minutes
Content Rating Rated R
Noted Characters and Cast
Etan Emile Hirsch
Avi Angel Bonanni
The Engineer Adam Haloon

What Is “The Engineer” Rated And Why?

“The Engineer” is Rated R due to violence and profanity.

Film Summary

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“You gotta start making sense, or I’m gonna start breaking bones,” is a line spoken by Emile Hirsch’s Etan midway through “The Engineer.” This quote is a perfect summary of the movie, which, at 90 minutes, still feels sluggish.

As Israel’s prime minister and the Palestine Liberation Organization’s leader attempted to broker peace in the early 1990s, a series of suicide bombings targeting Israeli civilians put that peace and the people in danger. Two separate men are tasked with finding the Engineer of these bombings. One is Etan (Emile Hirsch), an ex-interrogation specialist who’s pulled back into the lifestyle for one last mission. Then we have Avi (Angel Bonanni), a more aggressive hitman and interrogator who is employed by a U.S. senator to find the man responsible for killing his daughter.

While Etan and Avi’s teams work separately, each bloody and torturous task brings these men closer to finding the Engineer (Adam Haloon). Avi’s team has more seedy connections while Etan’s has more resources, yet the two must join forces if they want to stop the Engineer’s bloody crusade.

Despite the constant threat of violence and death, the lack of suspense in its action makes “The Engineer” seem as if director Danny A. Abeckaser can’t decide if the movie is an action film or a political thriller. Unfortunately, “The Engineer” ends up being a disappointing, mild attempt at both.

Character Descriptions

Please Note: This character guide is not an exhaustive list of every cast member, and character descriptions may contain what can be considered spoilers.


Etan is a tough expat who isn’t afraid to do whatever cruel task a mission requires. He teams up with Israel’s security agency to track down the Engineer but causes tension with his boss and teammates along the way.

  • The actor is also known for their role in “Into the Wild,” their role in “Milk,” and their role in “The Immaculate Room.”
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Emile Hirsch as Etan in “The Engineer” (directed by Danny A. Abeckaser, 2023)


Avi is hired by a U.S. senator to track down the Engineer, and he agrees to do so in order to finally reunite with his family and return to the United States. The movie shows more of Avi’s background and more of his team’s violent questioning methods.

  • The actor is also known for their roles in “Condor” and “Absentia.”
Engineer Avi
Angel Bonanni as Avi in “The Engineer” (directed by Danny A. Abeckaser, 2023)


Our Rating: Mixed (Divisive)

Who Is This For?

People who are interested in Middle Eastern political thrillers or action events based on true stories (like “Zero Dark Thirty”) may enjoy “The Engineer.”

Low Points

No Tension in the Drama or Action

Perhaps due to a fixed run time, “The Engineer” moves from one scene to the next like we’re watching co-workers absently do their jobs rather than invest in a mission that threatens peace between nations. Torture, the inclusion of a U.S. senator, a pregnant woman, and assassinations are all story beats that should get the viewer more invested. But they fall flat, as the movie rarely acknowledges the weight of these events too.

On The Fence

Emile Hirsch Miscast as Rogue Agent Etan

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After Etan gives a speech about beating up the last person he interrogated to an inch of his life left, his prisoner says, “You don’t scare me.” The audience feels the same. For a movie that rests on the gravitas of its star, Emile Hirsch, as a skilled fighter and interrogation specialist, is a bold yet unrewarding choice. For all the talk about his powers and abilities, Hirsch plays Etan like a bookworm on his first mission rather than the seasoned and cynical veteran he’s meant to be.

A Rushed Journey to the Finish Line

The last thirty minutes of “The Engineer” are promising for a moment as Etan and Avi finally meet and team up to find the Engineer. While I think this should have happened at the halfway mark to develop the two leads relationships and strengths, I also know beggars can’t be choosers. But the reunion between the characters is quickly tossed away with a final disorienting action sequence that leaves Avi dead and a quick explanation of the Israeli and Palestinian conflict. I couldn’t help but laugh as Avi is revealed to be the senator’s son, and “The Engineer” shows one last suicide bombing within the span of 1 minute. The end may be confusing, but nevertheless entertaining.


If you like this movie, we recommend:

  1. Hidden Strike
  2. Fubar
  3. Leave No Trace

Check out our movies page for our latest movie reviews and recommendations.


Answers to some questions you may have regarding this movie:

The Reason The Movie Is Named “The Engineer”

“The Engineer” takes its name after the person who engineered multiple suicide bombings in the early 1990s.

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