Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Son of Saul (2015)

Academy Awards, USA 2016

Best Foreign Language Film of the Year

Sony Pictures Classics
Directed by László Nemes
My rating: 2 stars out of 4
IMDb Wikipedia
(Blu-ray, Sony)

A Jewish prisoner works at Auschwitz removing bodies from the death chambers, cleaning and other reprehensible duties in exchange for a brief extension of his own life. One day he finds a breathing boy among the dead bodies and recognizes him as his own illegitimate son. He is murdered by a Nazi doctor, but the prisoner steals the body with hopes to give it a proper Jewish burial. He searches in vain for the rest of the movie to find a Rabbi that can do it. He gets involved in a rebellion scheme and eventual breakout. Filmed in a claustrophobic, hand-held camera style, we spend most of the film no more than a couple of feet from the main character's face. While he is in focus, almost everything else is not, forcing us to squint and imagine what might be happening around him. This may work while he is going about the horrific business in the death chambers, but gets tiresome for everything else outside of it. As a result, this feels more like and exercise in style instead of substance.

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