Eilis

Custom Search




banner2

banner3

banner3

tel:18003484095


Where To Invade Next

Son Of Saul

February 18, 2016

Where to Invade Next (***) R

Michael Moore, the most divisive documentary filmmaker of our times, has returned to his old subject matter with Where to Invade Next, his first film since his 2009 entry Capitalism: A Love Story. Quality wise, I would say it’s about on a par with his last effort from nearly seven years ago. That’s to say that it’s amusing and eternally hopeful but sometimes maddening. The film also, at the very least and like most of Moore’s other films on his resume, forces one to think and to question how things are done in the supposed land of the free in which we live. Any film that dares to engage the viewer in this manner can’t be without some merit.

The premise of the film is fairly simple. In a pre credits sequence Moore posits that since the US hasn’t won a war since WWII, perhaps it’s not a bad idea to go overseas and take some of the positive ideas that other countries have adopted and bring them back to America. Later in the film, the filmmaker notes that most of the ideas that are making other countries so successful were initially implemented by our own government but have since been tossed aside in the interests of big business and greed. It’s a Michael Moore film and you know he has an agenda but anyone with sense enough to tie their own shoelaces would be hard pressed to disagree with some of the ideas that other countries are putting to good use.

The first place on Moore’s agenda is Italy, where he illuminates just how much business owners respect their employees, a situation that is, more often than not, quite the opposite in our little corner of the world.

Michael Moore

Other places that the filmmaker chooses to visit are France, where school lunch menus are quite markedly different than school cafeteria food found in most schools in the states, and, Norway, where the prison system bears no resemblance to prisons commonly found on our soil.

As I said, it’s a Michael Moore film and as such, it’s going to slanted to fit his agenda so viewers should be warned. Also, those who really detest the filmmaker’s penchant for putting himself in his own films are most assuredly going to be annoyed here as he seems to have more screen time than in any of his most recent films.  Still, having said all of that, the film does feature Moore’s trademark humor and does leave us with a hopeful feeling that, perhaps, things can be better than that to which we’ve become accustomed. That, my friends, is a message the likes of which all of us could use more.
 
Son of Saul (** ½) R
 
One of this year’s Oscar contenders for Best Foreign Film, Son of Saul, certainly goes the distance in its depiction of the horrors of Nazi Germany, circa World War II. By narrowing its focus to the point of view of its main protagonist, the film offers a unique perspective on a subject that’s been covered amply more than a few times over the decades. Its depiction of the atrocities committed by the Germans during the Second World War are some of the most disturbing in the canon of films that have attempted to dramatize these events over the course of cinema history. For that reason alone the film must be commended.

The aforementioned protagonist of the film is the title character, Saul, whose job it is to clean up the death scenes in which a good portion of the Jews have lost their lives.

Geza Rohrig and Marton Agh in Son of Saul

As the film begins, Saul is cleaning up the residue from a gas oven that has recently been used for just such a horrific purpose. It’s there that Saul first comes to notice the body of a boy, still breathing but barely alive. Saul then witnesses one of the German soldiers suffocating the boy, an act that seems to stir up something deep inside the man. The rest of the film mainly focuses on Saul’s attempts to give the boy a proper burial, an act that necessitates Saul finding a Rabbi to assist him in his task. Much of the film’s narrative from this point forward involves Saul’s attempts to find said Rabbi and bury the boy, while being careful not to put his or his coworker’s lives in danger.

While the strength of Son of Saul may lie in the recreation of the time and place in which its events occur, the film’s weaknesses rest solely on debuting writer-director Laszlo Nemes’ decision to not flesh out any of the film’s characters. There isn’t one character in the film that we really get to know on any level beyond his or her immediate actions.

Of course it could be argued that when it comes to attempting to survive an event such as the holocaust, immediate actions are all that count. That would be a valid point and one, that’s quite frankly, hard to argue. Still, the experience of spending the film’s running time with a character that I have no emotional investment in is a hard pill for me to swallow. Couple that with the film’s most unsatisfying ending and what I was left with is a film brimming with great detail but nothing, in regards to story, for which to recommend it.

Both of these movies are playing in Charlotte.

Questions or comments? Write Adam at filmfan1970@hotmail.com.

 

ARCHIVES:

Deadpool • The Choice • How To Be Single

Hail Caesar & Fifty Shades Of Black

The Finest Hours & The 5th Wave

Mustang & The Lady In The Van

Anomalisa • 13 Hours: The & Secret Soldiers Of Benghazi

The Revenant • Youth

Carol • Joy • The Hateful Eight

Star Wars: The Force Awakens • The Big Short • Concussion

Daddy’s Home • Alvin & The Chipmunks: The Road Chip

In The Heart Of The Sea • Krampus

Creed • Brooklyn

Spotlight

‘Mockingjay Part 2’ • All Things Must Pass • The Night Before

Trumbo

Spectre & The Peanuts Movie

Steve Jobs & Our Brand Is Crisis

Crimson Peak & Room

Bridge Of Spies & Goosebumps

99 Homes

The Martian • Sicario & The Walk

The Intern • The Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials • Everest

The Visit & Black Mass

Mistress America

The Diary Of A Teenage Girl A Walk In The Woods

American Ultra • No Escape • Sinister 2

Straight Outta Compton, The End Of The Tour, The Man From U.N.C.L.E.

Irrational Man & Fantastic Four

Ricki And The Flash & The Gift

Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation • Southpaw • Vacation

Ant-Man & Trainwreck

Self/Less

Amy • Magic Mike XXL, Terminator: Genisys

Me & Earl & The Dying Girl, Ted 2

Inside Out & Dope

Love and Mercy & Jurassic World

Insidious Chapter 3

San Andreas & Aloha

Poltergeist &
Tomorrowland

Mad Max: Fury Road

Hot Pursuit

Avengers: Age Of Ultron

Ex Machina

While We’re Young & Unfriended

The Longest Ride

Fast & Furious 7

It Follows

Divergent

Cinderella

Chappie

Focus & The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel

Hot Tub Time Machine 2

Fifty Shades Of Grey

Jupiter Ascending

Still Alice

The Imitation Game A Most Violent Year

American Sniper Inherent Vice

Selma & Taken 3

Unbroken

Big Eyes • The Interview

Night At The Museum The Secret of the Tomb • The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies

Top Five • Wild • Annie

Foxcatcher

Whiplash & The Theory Of Everything

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 • Horrible Bosses 2

Dumb And Dumber To

Birdman & Interstellar

Nightcrawler

Ouija

Fury

The Judge

Annabelle & Gone Girl

The Equalizer & Happy 75th, GWTW!

The Drop • A Walk Among & The Tombstones

No Good Deed

The Identical

As Above, So Below & November Man

If I Stay & Sin City: A Dame To Kill For

The Giver • Code Black & The Expendables 3

Boyhood • Into The Storm & Magic In The Moonlight

Get On Up & Guardians Of The Galaxy

Lucy

Begin Again & The Purge: Anarchy

Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes

Chef & Tammy

Transformers: Age Of Extinction

Jersey Boys

22 Jump Street & How To Train Your Dragon 2

The Fault Is In Our Stars & Edge Of Tomorrow

A Million Ways To Die In The West

X-Men: Days Of Future Past Maleficent

Godzilla • Summer Preview

Neighbors • Godzilla

The Amazing Spiderman 2 & Belle

The Other Woman & Brick Mansions

A Haunted House 2 & Heaven Is For Real

Oculus & Rio 2

Captain America: The Winter Soldier

Noah

Divergent

The Grand Budapest Hotel & Veronica Mars

300: Rise of the Empire

Non-Stop & Son Of God

Three Days To Kill

Robocop & The Past • About Last Night

The Monuments Men

Labor Day

I, Frankenstein

Inside Llewyn Davis & Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit

Lone Survivor & August: Osage County

Her • Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones

Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom & The Wolf Of Wall Street

The Secret Life Of Walter Mitty, Saving Mr. Banks, American Hustle, Anchorman 2

The Hobbit: The Desolation & Of Smaug • Nebraska

Dallas Buyers Club & Oldboy & Out Of The Furnace

Philomena & The Book Thief

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire & Delivery Man

About Time & All Is Lost

Thor: The Dark World & 12 Years A Slave

Ender’s Game & Last Vegas

Bad Grandpa &The Counselor

Carrie & The Fifth Estate

Captain Phillips, Enough Said & Machete Kills

Gravity & Runner Runner

Metallica: Through The Never , Rush & Don Jon

Prisoners & Rush

Insidious: Chapter 2 • The Family & The Spectacular Now

Riddick

Getaway

The World’s End You’re Next

Lee Daniels’ The Butler • Jobs • Blue Jasmine

Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters & Elysium

2 Guns

Blue Jasmine • The Wolverine & Fruitvale Station

Fruitvale Station • The Conjuring & The Way Way Back

Pacific Rim & Grown Ups 2

The Lone Ranger & Despicable Me 2

The Heat & White House Down

Monsters University, World War Z, Before Midnight & The East

Man of Steel & This Is The End

The Internship & The Purge

After Earth, Now You See Me & Frances Ha

The Hangover Part III Before Midnight

Star Trek: Into Darkness & Fast and Furious 6

The Great Gatsby & Frances Ha

Iron Man & Peeples

Pain and Gain & Mud

Oblivion & Lords of Salem

42 and Scary Movie 5

Evil Dead & Jurassic Park 3-D

G.I. Joe: Retaliation Tyler Perry’s Temptation

Spring Breakers Admission

The Incredible Burt Wonderstone • The Call

Oz: The Great And Powerful West Of Memphis

Jack the Giant Slayer The Last Exorcism, Part II

Dark Skies & Snitch

A Good Day to Die Hard & Safe Haven

Side Effects & Identity Thief

Bullet To The Head Warm Bodies


 

 

 

BannerEventAd-01.jpg   fanjoylabrenz.jpg

PO Box 1721 | Hickory, NC 28603 | 828.322.1036 | Office Hours: Mon. - Fri. 9am - 5pm | focusnews@centurylink.net

Home • Reviews: MoviesAdam Long • Editorials: FocusHave Chainsaw Will TravelSid On SportsBobbi GSara MawyerPeople PicturesPlaces/PeopleExtra Events Listing
Out Of Focus • News: Local NewsNational NewsHoroscopes • Info/Links: Staff/ContributorsList Of AdvertisersOnline AdvertisingOnline ClassifiedsContact UsFocus BLOGStoreLinks

© 1978 - 2017 Tucker Productions, Inc.