Son of Saul

2 out of 5 stars

Credit must be given for a film that manages to find a new and interesting angle to tell a story not often told in the overworked genre of WWII and the Holocaust and technically, the use of an intimately close and continuous tracking shot on our main protagonist’s face, so that the horrors unfolding behind him is a blurred background but which the audience has no doubt as to what is going on, is haunting, harrowing and terribly effective in communicating the chaos and desperation that permeate through the Death Camps during the last stage of the War. But the film stubbornly remains only with our stoic protagonist and never breaks out from this one note approach.  So, between that, the subject matter, the sparse and ambiguous narrative, the breakdown in subtitles (in conveying the language difficulties and differences in German, Hebrew and Hungarian) and the vaguely symbolic but incomprehensible motivations of our protagonist, the relentless and intense film goes from difficult and frustrating to unenjoyable and annoying. Or maybe that’s the point? Oscar frontrunner or not, but by the time I arrive at the inevitable and futile ending, I have stopped caring and just wants to go.


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