Title – Son of Saul (2015)
Director – László Nemes (feature debut)
Cast – Géza Röhrig, Levente Molnár, Urs Rechn
Plot – In the heart of a Sonderkommando camp during the Auschwitz atrocities of World War 2, prisoner Saul Ausländer (Röhrig) sets out to find a rabbi to bury the body of a young boy he comes across when disposing of the bodies of those many innocent people murdered by the Nazi forces.
“There’s nothing more to do”
Review by Eddie on 20/06/2016
The recipient of both the 2016 Golden Globe and 2016 Academy Award for Best Foreign Film as well as the Grand Jury Prize at last year’s Cannes Film Festival, Lazlo Nemes Dogma inspired look at the little known Sonderkommando camps the Nazis operated during World War 2 is a wholly unique experience that is gruelling, gut wrenchingly real and utterly commanding from start to finish.
Son of Saul operates by taking the viewers into the heart and soul of hell on earth in the form of the Sonderkommando workforce (a labour camp where prisoners did the Nazi’s dirty work) our protagonist Saul (played fantastically by debut actor Géza Röhrig) inhabits, Nemes utilises certain techniques of the Dogma genre to stunning effect as Saul’s journey through the various wings of the camp encapsulates a horror that remains an ever constant companion to the determined Saul, even if certain aspects are never expressly shown or expanded upon.
Nemes (who delivers a stunning debut behind the camera) and his team have developed Son’s narrative to take place around Saul, he almost always remains in our centre of view as the camps day to day activities take place around him, whether it be actions or the chatter of horrors ever present within his world and if happens to be Saul leading unknowing victims into their death chambers, carrying out acts of espionage or most importantly to him, trying to find a Rabbi, Son’s always on the move and we’re always along for the ride, barely able to catch our breath in between.
It’s a haunting technique, one that quickly makes us forget we’re watching a movie, it’s as though we’ve been transported back to this time and place and while the atrocities of the war have been well documented over time through various forms of media, Son joins the esteemed ranks of films like Schindler’s List and The Pianist for showing the uncompromising nature of what took place those many years ago and in Son’s particular case an aspect of the war many would feel as though they’re experiencing for the very first time.
Some may be turned off by Son of Saul’s subject matter and its seemingly simple set up of one man’s journey to find a Rabbi but Son of Saul is a film that will grip you and not let go from its haunting opening through to its equally high stakes finale. Full credit to Nemes and his crew must be paid as this near faultless drama is easily one of recent time’s best productions and an experience you’re not likely to forget anytime soon after a viewing.
5 pieces of jewellery out of 5