If they were in America, Rudolf (Christian Friedel, THE WHITE RIBBON) and Hedwig (Sandra Hüller, who just got a best actress nomination for ANATOMY OF A FALL) would say they were living the American dream. They’re in a big new house near a river where they can swim and fish. They have a bunch of kids and a dog and their backyard is huge, with an elaborate garden, cobblestone paths, a huge greenhouse, a nice deck, and a small swimming pool with a slide. They even have servants. All because Rudolf’s doing so good in his job. And they live right next to work, so he doesn’t have to commute at all, he’s home right after work to spend time with the family. The kids love him (they got him a canoe for his birthday), and he and Sandra get along well, they make each other laugh, they talk about the trips they’ll go on after all this.
It’s the biggest possible “all this,” though: World War II. And I think you’ll share my objection to Rudolf’s job. He’s the commandant of Auschwitz. A very bad person. The conceit of writer/director Jonathan Glazer (SEXY BEAST, BIRTH, UNDER THE SKIN)’s gut punch of a movie is to matter-of-factly depict the mundane activities of this family as they go through their daily activities without a thought to the suffering they’re causing and benefiting from on the other side of the wall. (read the rest of this shit…)