Flash Movie Review: Son of Saul

The person asked me what movies I had seen the past weekend. I started going down the list of films and when I came to this movie they stopped me and asked, “How was it?” I made a few quick comments, not wanting to give too much away about the film. They looked at me and told me they believed it happened. I asked them what happened and they said the Holocaust. Their comment tripped up my brain momentarily; what did they mean they believed it happened, like there was any doubt? I did not respond to the comment because, to tell you the truth, I did not want to hear the answer. Were they a non-believer at some point or did their family and friends convince them the Holocaust never happened; I just did not want to get into a discussion about it with this person. However our brief conversation stayed with me for the day. I felt their comment could have come from a disrespectful, ignorant or hateful type of place. For someone to say the Holocaust never occurred would  be a slap in the face to all of those who had suffered and died. I sat throughout the day wondering if this person ever met someone who had a relative or friend perish in the concentration camps or who had their forearm tattoed with a number, showing those now they survived the camps. If this person had seen the movie I could then assume their comment was meant for what they had seen because it was so intimate and personal.    SAUL Auslander, played by relative newcomer Geza Rohrig, was forced to be part of a group of men who had to remove the dead bodies from the concentration camp’s gas chamber. When a boy was discovered still breathing among the dead, Saul morally could not ignore the boy’s breaths though it could get him killed. This Oscar nominated historic drama was utterly powerful on the movie screen. The director, by filming behind Saul’s head, turned this story into an intimate experience for the viewers. I felt as if I was part of Saul’s group, sharing all the horrors and terrors the men were experiencing at the time. This film festival winner may not be easy for some viewers who have not been exposed previously to Holocaust stories. I, myself, felt the director had taken this into consideration because most of the challenging scenes were set in the background just out of focus. This tactic allowed the viewer to remain with Saul and see exactly what was happening but maybe not at full force. One other thing I want to mention about the way this story was filmed. With such close shots there was a frenetic pace at times that added intensity to the scenes. It does not matter whether Saul was based on an actual individual because this film was just as real as the actual Holocaust. Hungarian and German was spoken with English subtitles.


3 1/2 stars




About moviejoltz

From a long line of movie afficionados, one brother was the #1 renter of movies in the country with Blockbuster, I am following in the same traditions that came before me. To balance out the long hours seated in dark movie theaters, I also teach yoga and cycling. For the past 3 years, I have correctly picked the major Oscar winners... so join me as we explore the wonder of movies and search for that perfect 4 star movie.

Posted on February 3, 2016, in Foreign and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. tpcosgrove1@comcast.net

    Jordan, As I was reading all the reviews and interviews last Saturday, I literally got sick to my stomach and started retching. I don’t think I can bring myself to see it. I can’t imagine as I know it is going to win best foreign film. Hope all is well. Terry

    • Hi Terry, I think because I have seen a variety of films regarding the Holocaust, I felt this was intense but the truly ugly parts were pushed to the background. It really is a beautifully directed movie. And I think you are right; this may become an Oscar winner. Be well.

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