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The Grey Zone

Posted by martinteller on October 22, 2009

I dunno about this one.  I think I’d rather read Miklos Nyiszli’s book.  The casting choices are all wrong.  David Arquette is surprisingly not the big problem here (he handles his role quite well, actually).  But it’s incredibly jarring to see Steve Buscemi and Harvey Keitel in this context.  And you can almost hear Mira Sorvino’s agent telling her that doing a Holocaust movie is a good career move.  And Tim Blake Nelson (writing and directing here, not acting) makes an odd choice to have the dialogue in clipped, Mamet-esque rhythms.  One gets the sense that it was just something he always wanted to do, so why not do it here?  The story does raise powerful questions of morality, but this is really nothing new in Holocaust films, and has been done more effectively in films before and since.  Anyway, more and more I’m of the belief that dramatizing the camps is a bad idea.  It can never be horrible enough.  I don’t mean that in a voyeuristic way, I don’t get any kicks out of seeing people suffer.  But the truth of it is so awful and so overwhelming that it cannot be captured by actors with scripts on sets.  Should there be “amazing shots” in movies about so much death and pain and unbearable loss?  On the other hand, it seems wrong to put limitations on any kind of artistic endeavor.  I just don’t know.  Rating: 6

IMDb
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