The Zone of Interest (2023)

The Zone of Interest (2023)

A chilling and masterful display of the banality of evil

The Very Best

9.5

Movie

Poland, United Kingdom
German, Polish, Yiddish
Drama, History, War
2023
JONATHAN GLAZER
Anastazja Drobniak, Christian Friedel, Daniel Holzberg
105 min

TLDR

As a Holocaust movie, this is way more effective than anything directly violent *coughs* Schindler’s List*coughs.*

What it's about

SS Officer Rudolf Höss (Christian Friedel) and his family live an idyllic life in their dream garden home, which is situated right next to Auschwitz, Nazi Germany's largest and most violent concentration camp.

The take

How do you make a film about the Holocaust feel new? How do you make the terrors feel fresh, like it was just in the news, without sounding redundant or without giving into the sensationalized and emotionally manipulative? For Director Jonathan Glazer, the answer lies in not what you show but what you don’t show. The Zone of Interest is shot from the point of view of Nazi Officer Rudolf Höss (Christian Friedel) and his wife Hedwig (Sandra Hüller), who live a dreamy life right next to the infamous Auschwitz death camp. Glazer frames them plainly and without flourish as they ignore (or, arguably, revel in) the glow of burning bodies, the howls of pain, and the billows of smoke coming from the torture chamber a wall away. It’s a powerful, nauseating contrast that turns the question from “How can they do this?” to “Who among us is committing the same things right now?” Who among us is casting a blind eye to the atrocities and genocide being committed at this very moment to our neighbors? The film, which is also a technical feat in terms of the way it’s shot (the crew and cameras remained hidden so that the actors were free to roam, as if in a play) is chilling and thought-provoking, and it will unnerve you for days on end.

What stands out

Despite lasting for a brief 14 minutes, the haunting and unrelenting music we hear by Mica Levi crawls under your skin, squeezes your heart, and refuses to leave your head. The warped synthesizers and the screeching cries set against nothing but black onscreen force you to listen to and think about the horrors unseen.

Comments

Add a comment

UP NEXT 

UP NEXT 

UP NEXT 

Falling in Love Like in Movies (2023)

A contemplative Indonesian romance film that rewrites and re-examines the genre’s conventions

8.4

The Guilty (2018)

A minimalist, razor-sharp thriller that will have you gasping for air.

9.0

System Crasher (2019)

A tale of trauma and one of the most talked about movies on Netflix in 2020.

9.0

Cold War (2018)

A quiet Polish masterpiece with ravishing music and dazzling visuals

9.2

The Peasants (2023)

DK Welchman returns to her roots in this oil-painted adaptation of the haunting Young Poland folk saga

7.6

Victoria (2015)

Filmed in one continuous take and in real time on the streets of Berlin, ‘Victoria’ immerses the viewer in a heart-stopping drama

9.8

Rust and Bone (2012)

8.1

The Hunt (2013)

A nightmarish drama dealing with complex questions, fully carried by Mads Mikkelsen’s unforgettable performance

9.8

No Dogs or Italians Allowed (2023)

Alain Ughetto remembers his family history in this charming, yet poignant animated drama

9.2

Things to Come (2016)

A beautiful, bittersweet portrait of resilience

8.5

Curated by humans, not algorithms.

agmtw logo

© 2024 agoodmovietowatch, all rights reserved.