Sunday, May 15, 2016

Son of Saul (2015)

Director: Laszlo Nemes
Writers:  Laszlo Nemes, Clara Royer
Cast:       Geza Rohrig, Levente Molnar, Urs Rechin
Language: Hungarian

In the horror of 1944 Auschwitz, a prisoner forced to burn the corpses of his own people finds moral survival upon trying to salvage from the flames the body of a boy he takes for his son. It is quite obvious that he knows that it is not really his son, if at all he had a son to begin with, and it is a coping mechanism for the guilt that he has for having his life spared for now by taking up a role as a 'Sonderkommando'. He insists on finding a Rabbi to give a proper burial for what he presumes to be his son.

The film tells the story from a point of view, I think, has not been previously explored in films about Holocaust. It is filmed in an extreme closeup fashion, maybe due to budgetary constraints and as a way to not overly concentrate on the grimness of his surroundings in a manipulative manner. Make no mistake, the film is a good watch, but comes with an overratedness factor that is quite common for Holocaust films. It is second year in a row that a Holocaust film has won the Academy award in the Best Foreign Film category, with the last one being Ida- a patently undeserved choice considering the strong competition that it had. One can't help but think about that Extras episode in which Ricky Gervais advises Kate Winslet to do a Holocaust film to finally win an Oscar. 2015 has been quite an average year and I haven't seen any of the other competing films in this category, except for Mustang, to authentically commend on whether 'Son of Saul' deserved the award. 

Son a Saul is a good watch but I really don't get the near perfect rating that it seems to be getting from almost all the critics. It took me three sittings to finish the film and I didn't watch it in a tired sleepy manner. Don't know if that is my fault or the film's. I didn't care that much for the central performance and the whole Rabbi thing didn't convince me either. 

Rating: 3/5