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  • Writer's pictureRob Ervin

Don Reviews "The Zone of Interest"

There are a lot of times where I go into a screening knowing very little about the film, which can work both for and against me.  In the case of The Zone of Interest, I was worried when I found out that it is a foreign language film with subtitles (something that is well-documented that I am not a fan of).  Then I found out that it was directed by Jonathan Glazer, my 2013 “Golden Turkey” winner in Under the Skin (strike two!).  With those two things in mind, the question became what would happen: would this film being a full-on strikeout or hit a home run?


This particular film stars Christian Friedel, Sandra Huller, Eleanor Pohl, Max Beck and Daniel Holzberg.   It’s World War II where Rudolf Hoss (Friedel) lives with his wife, Hedwig (Huller), and his children as the main architect and now head Nazi Commandant of the Auschwitz Concentration Camp in Poland.  His beautiful home actually shares a border with the camp itself, and this is the story of their existence with him running one of the most horrific places on Earth while he and his family live a normal life right next to it.


If you watch the film and take out anything about Auschwitz, it is a very simple film of a family living its life with a successful dad who goes to work and the housewife raising their kids.  However, adding in that extra wrinkle moves this story to a very bizarre and different place (especially given that it was actually filmed on the grounds at Auschwitz).  The choice of sound editing where the noises from the camp itself were constantly in the background during scenes like those with the family in the backyard playing in the pool and not even acknowledging it really affected me emotionally.


Another part of this film that was effective is in the were nighttime scenes where Rudolf is turning off the lights as he puts the family to bed.  During all of this, there is a constant faint light that brings deeper meaning as the film goes on.  Given the debate around those events, The Zone of Interest truly tries to dig into that mindset very well.  The contrast between the two stories this film tells is done in a way that I feel should be seen by as many people as possible if for no other reason than to remind us of the terrible stories that came from that time so they never happen again.  This film does not need any form of enhancement like IMAX or Dolby Cinema, but it does get my coveted review of full price in the theaters.



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