The last starring film of Charlton Heston, and a respectable swan song for one of the finest American actors of the 20th Century. This is a story based on the real life Nazi villain Dr. Josef Mengele, who was the despised Auschwitz surgeon who performed atrocities on children. Heston plays the elderly criminal (who is never referred to by name in the film), who is reviled, and has spent the last thirty years moving from country to country and living as a fugitive from justice. Mengele's orphaned son Hermann (Thomas Kretschmann) has never seen his infamous father but has endured a terrible life of persecution for being the offspring of this hated murderer. When the alleged bones of the six-year's-deceased elder Mengele are dug up in 1985, Hermann grants an interview to a Jewish lawyer (F. Murray Abraham) telling all he knows about his dad. Through his memories we are taken back eight years to the one time Hermann risked a dangerous journey to a dirty shanty town hut in Brazil, to confront his notorious father, seek some mental resolution within himself, and to possibly turn him over to the police.
This is a good little film that was made in late 2001 and - as of the date of this review - has not been released in the U.S. It is especially of note as being Charlton Heston's last movie, just before he announced publicly that he was experiencing symptoms of Alzheimers. While Heston may seem wrong for the part to some upon first thought, he actually turns in a fine last performance and is completely convincing as the complex German doctor. Thomas Kretcshmann is acceptable as his disturbed son, and F. Murray Abraham is his reliable self as the lawyer defending the survivors of Mengele's crimes. It's not an exceptional film, and I had to watch it twice in order to be sure of the back and forth time switching, but I came out satisfied. It's certainly recommended, particularly for fans of Chuck Heston.
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