4 items from 2016
Son of Saul, 2015.
Directed by László Nemes.
Surrounded by the horror of living in Auschwitz, Saul, a Sonderkommando, attempts to bury the body of a boy who he claims as his son.
Based on the same source material as Tim Blake Nelson’s film The Grey Zone, Son of Saul is a more extensive re-imagining of Dr. Miklós Nyiszli’s book, Auschwitz: A Doctor’s Eyewitness Account. 15 years after the release of The Grey Zone, writer and director László Nemes’ film Son of Saul is both original and unique, offering something new to the genre of holocaust films that renders the subject more authentic than theatrical.
Both films share almost identical story lines with there being only one defining difference. While Nelson’s characters in The Grey Zone are obsessed with saving the life of a young girl who »
- Joshua Gill
The beautiful performances and raw intimacy are definitely worth your time, but its wispy good intentions ultimately dissipate into thin air. I’m “biast” (pro): love the amazing cast
I’m “biast” (con): nothing
(what is this about? see my critic’s minifesto)
When a Columbia University professor (Sam Waterston: Le Divorce) is violently mugged on his walk home one dark, cold night, the disparate group of friends, family, lovers, and strangers who are affected by this event have to come to terms with their own pain, their own failings, and the inadequate ways in which they have been trying to cope. That’s the idea, anyway, but it doesn’t work as a cohesive, satisfying whole in the way that, I’m sure, writer-director Tim Blake Nelson (The Grey Zone) intends.
There is a wonderfully astute sensitivity to how Nelson and his marvelous cast play out the »
- MaryAnn Johanson
Causality and Kindness: Nelson’s Latest Look at All the Lonely People
The multifaceted Tim Blake Nelson unveils his latest directorial effort in nearly seven years with Anesthesia, a New York set drama focused on a series of interconnected characters leading up to a brutal crime of the narrative’s central figure. It’s sometimes easy to forget Nelson, perhaps best known as a character actor in an incalculable amount of arresting performances across a variety of films, is also an accomplished writer and director, premiering his own eclectic five features since his first (and best) 1997 debut Eye of God. Since then, he made a contemporized version of Shakespeare’s Othello in 2001 with O, an English language drama centered on a rebellious group of Sonderkomandos attempting to overthrow their Nazi captors in the grueling The Grey Zone (also 2001) and a comedy crime drama Leaves of Grass (2009) with Edward Norton pulling double duty as twins. »
- Nicholas Bell
A retiring Philosophy professor (Sam Waterston) buzzes up to a stranger’s apartment one night, screaming for help. The tenant (Cory Stoll) rushes downstairs, and finds two men, bloody and beaten on the doorstep. One is the ailing professor, and the other, we cannot see. The narrative then flashes back several days to show us how these characters came to meet this gruesome fate. Anesthesia offers an intriguing but familiar set up, which splays the story out into numerous sprawling strands. The film is Altmanesque in its conceptualization, as the lives of roughly a dozen strangers crisscross and interlock in unexpected ways.
Writer-director Tim Blake Nelson, best known as Delmar from O Brother, Where Art Thou?, rounded up a stellar and committed cast, including Glenn Close, Michael K. Williams and Kristen Stewart. The filmmaker seems at home collaborating with actors of this caliber, having directed Edward Norton to not one, »
- Tony Hinds
4 items from 2016
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