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I've been an avid Haley Joel Osment fan since his role as Forest Gump's
in the movie of the same name. I have followed this talented young man
seen him grow into one of the great Actors today (not child actors, mind
- he is a full blown actor, IMHO). I lay all this praise out there as a
preface to comments since it is important to understand my next
Why on Earth is movie not being distributed in the United States? Why not in World Wide distribution? Here you have an extremely talented cast, in a well thought out and written movie, and so few get to see it. There are some films that are "must see" for the sake of mankind and this is one of them. Is it as significant as Shindler's List? Probably not for the general audience. However, it is very significant for young audiences in their teenage years. I watched this film for the first time with my two sons (14 & 16) and was amazed to hear their perspective on a very difficult subject and time historically. While Shindler's List might help older audiences remember that there was a time that should not be repeated, Edges of the Lord will help teens (and some younger viewers) understand that we cannot allow a repeat of this time in history. My two (Catholic) boys have learned to live as a community from parents and friends that practice what they preach and this film opened their eyes to specifics that are not taught in school. It is very important for those living in relative comfort to see what peers overseas lived like in horrifying circumstances. To have to have grown up so fast. The story captures what should not be forgotten and reminds those of us that know to educate those that don't. Impressive....
The film's star, Haley Joel Osment, is accurate with his acting - voice and accent, and is believable. Haley is amazing in that he can pull you into the world he's in and keep you there. What a gift he has and aren't we lucky to see it grow! Mr. Defoe is excellent. The children in the village are excellent. The set / location and costumes are perfect.
I had to buy this film from Brazil. Miramax, if you are listening, get this film to as many screens as you can! Be responsible, please! At least, release it on DVD. No one should ever forget, and your film will assist in that goal.
I caught this unknown film on Polish television last night and was blown
away. The following day as I write this I'm still haunted about some of the
scenes towards the end.
With an excellent blend of Polish and international actors and actresses, this tale of the loss of childhood innocence during WW2 is as powerful and memorable as Schindler's List or the Pianist, and is certainly not for young children.
While Osmont's performance is great, it is Liam Hess as the young Tola who steals the film, a true innocent who longs to understand what it was like to be Jesus, an amazing characterisation by such a young boy.
There are moments of lovely humour in the film as you'd expect watching the innocent/stupid/naive things kids do, but the last thirty minutes are quite shocking and emotionally draining.
Congratulations to writer/director Yurek Bogayevicz and all involved, for a powerful piece of filmmaking.
I consider this film to be the best one with Haley J. Osment. I must admit that first I watched it only because HJO was starring in it (and because the film was shot in my country, ie Poland). Not only does Haley play wonderfully, but also the film itself is very good, mixing the times of WWII with the fragile construction of children's psyche. The film was made in Poland, so it was very nice to see Haley playing in Polish landscapes. I must say I am very surprised that the film was not yet released in the US. In Poland it was shown in cinemas in 2001. In January 2003 the film was released on DVD. A few weeks ago (November 2003) the movie was on TV so it had really wide audience. I don't understand why such a good movie was not released in the US !! If you want, you can write to me: (make sure it's o2, and not 02).
You know something? It's a bit of a pity that "Edges of the Lord"
doesn't get the deserved attention from the press, critics and people
in general. That happens in part because of its poor marketing and
propaganda. The film should also have a better distribution around the
I like Haley Joel Osment. At first I only saw this movie for curiosity because Haley is in it. I don't even like war movies. But this one is actually a good surprise inside its genre.
This isn't like the majority of war films. Comparing to others of its kind, this one is soft when it comes to the Holocaust's horrors and violence (although it still is disturbing). But in general, this is more of a drama that takes place during the World War II in the early 1940's. It's a human movie, a story of braveness, survival, sacrifices and also about learning to accept and respect the other people. It also has some funny moments, such as the hilarious pig fart scene!
"Edges of the Lord" takes place in Poland, the country where it was filmed. One of its attributes is the natural beauty of the sceneries and landscapes: a beautiful village, lakes, trees, mountains and green places. The music is beautiful. It's a touching movie either, not just another Holocaust movie.
Haley Joel Osment and Willem Dafoe are the best known actors of this film. They're American. The others are mostly polish actors but not without a Canadian one (Richard Banel) and an English one (Liam Hess).
The fabulous Haley Joel Osment once again proves his exceptional talent and, along with the other actors, he speaks with a very convincing polish accent.
The other actors have terrific performances too, especially the kids: Liam Hess as Tolo, Richard Banel as Vladek and Ola Frycz as Maria. As for the adult actors, Olaf Lubaszenko is great as Gniecio, as well as Willem Dafoe as the Priest. The director Yurek Bogayevicz did a great job with this American-polish special production.
As for the characters, Tolo is a loving but very strange little boy. Vladek starts by being a hateable brat who's always mistreating Romek, but as the movie runs we end up liking him, because he changes his bratty attitudes, becomes a good boy and finally accepts Romek, becoming his friend and even rescues him when he needs to. Romek is the cutest and most loving kid but also a boy who is thought to disguise in perfection his religious roots. Maria is a pretty and provoking girl who also becomes a better person as the movie runs. Who I never like at all are that awful Kluba and his sons: Pyra and, most of all, that horrible Robal.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
"Edges of the Lord" is a beautifully shot film. The interior of peasant
homes and the Polish countryside glow.
"Edges" includes some unforgettable performances. Willem Dafoe is stunning as nobody's ideal -- and yet very loving -- priest. Haley Joel Osment reveals, yet again, that he has more heart and talent in his pinkie than many bigger stars have in their whole bodies.
Liam Hess, as Tolo, an eight year old peasant child with a Messiah complex, is reason enough alone to see the movie. I've never seen anything like his performance. He is mesmerizing. Had this film received a theatrical release, Hess' performance would be legendary by now.
HJO plays Romek, a Jewish boy who, during the Holocaust, is sent to live with a Polish peasant family. During his time there he has fights, and makes friends, with Polish peasant children. An older girl, teenage Maria, tries to introduce him to love.
This coming of age tale occurs with the Holocaust in the background. Trains of Jews pass through the village; villagers rob escaping Jews. Three Polish peasant characters are shot to death for defying Nazi orders. A pall of menace hangs over every word and deed.
Tolo, who looks younger than eight, takes it upon himself to sacrifice for the suffering humanity he sees around him. He asks to be crucified. He attempts to perform a miracle. Upon learning that Jesus was Jewish, Tolo claims to be Jewish -- to a Nazi. In the end, Tolo does perform a sacrifice, one the viewer did not expect.
Viewers can't fully understand this movie without understanding the background of Polish Jewish relations. Both Polish Catholics and Jews suffered under the Nazis. Nazis, though, targeted Jews for complete elimination, and came dreadfully close to carrying out that evil end.
In recent years, loud voices have claimed that Poles did not do enough to rescue Jews, or that Poles celebrated, or participated in, the Holocaust that occurred, largely, on Polish soil. Poles, less well organized, have tried to present a more complicated picture -- one in which any Pole who helped any Jew in any way risked death not just for himself, the helper, but for his entire family. Poles also point out that there are more Poles honored among the righteous at Yad Vashem than any others.
Too, Poles point out, World War Two was just the latest catastrophe, for Poles, in a two century long history of catastrophes, including domination by hostile Russia, Prussia, and Austria. Poles suffered horribly under the Nazis. There were Poles in Auschwitz, on mass transport trains, and in gas chambers.
Needless to say, this short review can't honor all the competing narratives that serve as backdrop to this movie.
As a viewer, I can say that this film was not a complete success for me aesthetically. Watching films about genocide is hard. If I am going to invest time in such an endeavor, I want to feel that the investment was worthwhile -- that I learned something, or grew as a person, from the experience. Genocide films that have worked for me have included "The Pianist" and "Hotel Rwanda." Both films focused on a single strand narrative that followed one character I deeply cared about.
"Edges of the Lord" does not follow a single strand narrative focused on one charismatic character. Though I liked many, I never became intimately involved with any of the characters. The film's focus is too diffuse, switching from narrative strand to narrative strand.
And then there are the political issues. I can understand the desire to make a film that communicates that World War Two was a tortuous, chaotic prison for all Poles. The Bad Poles here -- the ones who rob escaping Jews -- are bad Poles, period. They also betray their own Polish Catholic neighbors to the Nazis. One, the script makes clear, has performed unnatural acts with sheep. And he rapes a beloved female character.
At one point, a priest confronts a Polish criminal with his crime. The criminal says, "Who are you going to report me to?" World-War-Two-era Poland was a land without justice. The good Poles did was erased, often, by their murder at the hands of Nazis. Bad Poles faced no court of justice; rather, they profited from others' misfortunes.
That this film communicates that understanding is a good thing.
There are political issues in a film in which Tolo, a Polish Catholic boy, a child of the "Christ of Nations," volunteers to be crucified, symbolically, and, ultimately, in a real way, as a gesture of solidarity with suffering Jews. This is an issue that deserves discussion. But, unfortunately, this film was all but buried. It received no theatrical release, and little press. That is a shame.
I do have mixed feelings about this film as an aesthetic product and a political statement, but I also must recommend it for anyone who would like to see an unforgettable performance by a child actor, and for persons interested in seeing the Holocaust from an alternative point of view.
This is a must of Haley Joel Osment fans, of course, though some might be
disappointed in the Polish accent that the film requires from HJO. He is
the star of the film, no doubt, but the other kids (both boys and girls) are
just as much a part of the story, and are wonderful young actors. Willem
Defoe as the priest is fine, though he's not a very good pig-chaser (okay,
that's an inside joke, for those who've seen the film). Liam Hess, who
plays the younger brother in the family that the Haley character is living
with to avoid being rounded up by the Nazis, is the best of the group, and
the most sympathetic of the characters. Some of the plot situations he goes
through seem a bit far-fetched, but the underlying allegory that his
character embodies is mostly effectively drawn, and comes to an emotional
conclusion. All of the Nazis portrayed in this movie are monsters as human
beings, with no attempt made to find even one sympathetic German character
in the group. There is some balance in the Polish characterizations, though,
as some are good people, and some are bad.
As for the reason this hasn't been released in the U.S. yet, I found nothing that should keep it out of the theaters. The one nude scene with young Liam Hess is certainly innocent enough, and the rape scene involving a couple of the other young actors/actresses was emotionally moving, without being too graphic for anyone who's not running for office somewhere and trying to make a name for themself. The dvd is a first rate product.
I rented this film because I am a fan of Osmet. I was surprised by the performances of almost all the child actors in this film. Liam Hess stole the show. I would have rated this film higher, but the story seemed to meander with no real point at times. The film is very dark and somber throughout but what would you expect from a "holocost" film. The central story is about two boys (one jew and one catholic) who end up living together and experiencing some of the atrocities perpetrated on the jews during WWII by the Germans. The Catholic boy (Liam Hess), who is receiving teachings from the local priest before his first communion decides to mimic the life of Jesus (for what reason I'm not sure) and draws all the other local children into his game. As the film progresses, the story becomes more serious and the Tolo's "games" become more realistic.
The plot is excellent. The story like it really was. I have heard so much about these times and how people behaved under extreme stress. This movie is so truthful to the real life. Some people are monsters and some are saints and often you can not tell who is who till they face the challenge of their lives. This movie is also about growing up, about the childhood torments and tribulations. It has some dreamlike qualities and the aspect of horror. The movie looks into the human soul, asks a lot of questions and answers only some of them. Well, an excellent experience. Everybody should see this great film. PS: I noticed that a Hollywood sugary run of the mill production "Panic Room" scored almost as high as this great artistic movie (7.5 to 7.8). This is hard for me to explain. I gave Panic Room a rating of 5 and Edges of the Lord 10.
It is amazing that this film did not receive a theatrical release -
surely someone in Hollywood has their head up their ass. This movie
could have been a major Oscar contender. It is a beautiful story, told
to near perfection. Haley Joel Osment continues to prove he's one of
the greatest child actors of all-time, and Liam Hess makes an amazing
impression as Tolo. Both performances are Oscar worthy, as are the
script, direction, cinematography, and picture.
Without revealing too much of the film focuses on the story of a young boy torn from his parents and Jewish upbringing and forced into a Catholic peasant community during the War. The horrors of the War are shown full, and the children of the community become heavily involved with the church as a means to escape the horrors, especially the impressionable, younger Tolo.
This is definitely one of the best movies to ever deal with the horrors of World War II, and certainly the best since "Schindler's List."
I picked up this movie from a video store, not having heard about it before, and watched it on a vacation. I was completely surprised; this is one of the better movies I've seen. It's very moving in all aspects, with wonderful characterization-- characters one loves, and characters one hates. Dafoe and Osment pull of the thick Polish accents very well; so well that it might be a good idea to turn the subtitles on while watching the movie. Without giving any spoilers, I shall say that the plot, though profound, touching, and horrific, is not dramatic just to be dramatic. Every part of the plot, whether it was violent or humorous, religious or sexual, served its purpose in a believable way. I recommend this movie highly, though not for younger children; the R rating it received is fitting, as the movie, though not nearly as violent or sexual as some others, deals with those two themes in a disturbingly haunting manner.
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