Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Movie with Abe: In the Fade

In the Fade
Directed by Fatih Akin
Released December 27, 2017

In today’s world, there is so much senseless violence where those who harmed no one during their all-too-brief lives end up dead at the hands of those who seek to inspire terror. In the United States, attacks have recently been indiscriminate, with no apparent motive and designed to kill or maim any person who happens to be in the vicinity. Religious and racial discrimination are often the reason for a specific target, even if that identity is not something the victims hold dear. This kind of occurrence holds a special and disturbing relevance in Germany, where such practices were once government policy.

Katja Sekerci (Diane Kruger) is happily living in Hamburg with her six-year-old son Rocco and her husband Nuri (Numan Acar), who has turned his life around after enrolling in business school while serving four years in prison for drug possession. She is devastated when a bomb explodes in front of her husband’s office, killing him and her son. Determined to seek justice against a neo-Nazi couple arrested for the bombing, Katja must sit through a lengthy trial in which their guilt is far from assumed and her late husband’s reputation is continually called into question, further deepening the pain and loss she feels.

This recent Golden Globe winner and Oscar frontrunner for Best Foreign Film is reminiscent of the 2015 Danish Oscar nominee, “A War,” which spends most of its time on the specifics of a trial that presents overwhelming analysis of a seemingly simple act that should result in a quick closed case. Though its lawyers wear recognizable outfits that set them apart from defendants and spectators, this case could easily play out in the United States, where what should be a clear instance of guilt is impeded by a strict emphasis on the legal process, giving all their due even if they hardly seem deserving.

Kruger is an international star who impressed in the film “Inglourious Basterds” and in the short-lived, underrated TV series “The Bridge.” Returning to her home country allows her to deliver an emotional, raw performance as a woman in deep mourning who is determined to avenge the murders of the two people closest to her. The film provides her an excellent showcase, and she has been widely cited as its strongest asset. Its courtroom scenes are compelling, particularly as things beginning to unravel and conflicts present themselves. This film stands much more as an individual story of loss and what it does to a person than an overarching condemnation of reckless and meaningless violence that claims innocent lives, an involving experience but one that isn’t quite as emphatic or poignant as it seeks to be.


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