The film follows a Jewish family living in Hungary through three generations, rising from humble beginnings to positions of wealth and power in the crumbling Austro-Hungarian Empire. The patriarch becomes a prominent judge but is torn when his government sanctions anti-Jewish persecutions. His son converts to Christianity to advance his career as a champion fencer and Olympic hero, but is caught up in the Holocaust. Finally, the grandson, after surviving war, revolution, loss and betrayal, realizes that his ultimate allegiance must be to himself and his heritage. Written by
The character of Adam Sonnenschein/Sors (played by Ralph Fiennes) draws heavily upon the life and death of two great Hungarian Jewish sabreurs, Attila Petschauer and Endre Kabos (winner of Olympic Gold in Sabre at the 1936 Berlin Games). Tragically, neither survived World War II and the Holocaust. See more »
When fencing for the gold medal, Adam Sors' opponent has his foot way across the line at the start. This would never be allowed at the Olympics. See more »
Ok, this is my third comment about a Ralph Fiennes movie in just under a week...five days to be precise. If there ever was a role on this earth that he could not play, I haven't seen it yet...or putting it simply, such a role has never been written. Ralph Fiennes is extraordinary as all three characters that he plays in this film. Characters who are completely different from one another, with different ideals and different beliefs. His dialogue delivery, his expressions, everything is marvellous. His eyes say it all. This role should've given him an Oscar nomination. When he smiles, you smile, when he cries, you cry. He is just a brilliant, brilliant actor.
The movie was very interesting, though very depressing at times. It gave some interesting views on the treatment of the Jews during World War II and the progression of Fienne's character from one generation to the next and how the current situation of the world in each character's time contributed to his thinking and views of the world.
Supported by an exceptional cast... Rosemary Harris, Rachel Weisz (I wanted her role to be a little longer), Jennifer Ehle, William Hurt. Very good movie. Highly recommended. ****/*****
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