6.2/10
4,428
54 user 55 critic

The Statement (2003)

Tale of a former Nazi executioner who becomes a target of hit men and Police investigators.

Director:

Writers:

(screenplay), (novel)

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ON DISC
4 wins. See more awards »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Pochon
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Commissaire Vionnet
William Hutt ...
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David Manenbaum
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Michael Levy
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Inspector Cholet
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Cardinal of Lyon
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Father Patrice
David de Keyser ...
Dom André (as David De Keyser)
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Storyline

Tale of a former Nazi executioner who becomes a target of hit men and Police investigators.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

At the end of World War II, many of those involved in war crimes were prosecuted. Some got away. Until now.

Genres:

Thriller | Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for violence | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

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Language:

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Release Date:

27 February 2004 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

A Confissão  »

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Box Office

Budget:

$23,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$37,220, 14 December 2003, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$763,044, 28 March 2004
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

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Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The film opens with a man seeking Sir Michael Caine with the aid of a photograph. In the photograph, the man seen next to Sir Michael Caine, is director Norman Jewison. See more »

Goofs

When Brossard searches the killer's wallet, we can see 500 francs banknotes with the head of Pierre and Marie Curie. This kind of banknote was released in 1994 and the action takes place in April 1992. See more »

Connections

Features Only You (1994) See more »

Soundtracks

Frederica
Written by Jaqueline Robin
Published by Lido-Melodies (SOCAN)
Courtesy of The Music People
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User Reviews

 
A Good Adaptation of a Thriller
13 December 2003 | by See all my reviews

Your comments will be displayed as follows: A good adaptation of Brian Moore's thriller novel, director Norman Jewison's "The Statement" has its ups and downs.

Michael Caine, who has played many English roles as well as being an American abortion providing doctor, now takes on elderly Frenchman Pierre Brossard, once a shining star of the toady Vichy police force without which the Nazis could never have murdered some 77,000 French Jews. A small percentage of the Holocaust toll but not an unimportant one. Among other acts he participated in the roundup and murder of seven Jews. Such an incident was the basis for the novel.

A man who may belong to a Jewish revanchist organization is killed by Brossard before he can shoot the wheezing, cardiac condition-afflicted former right-hand helpmate for the SS. He's been sheltered for forty years by members of the Catholic clergy.

Tilda Swinton is Judge Levy assigned along with Jeremy Northam, a French army colonel, to find and bring Brossard to trial based on a new law reviving prosecutions against those who committed crimes against humanity. Actually, every important actor in this film except for Charlotte Rampling, who has a small role as Brossard's wife, is English. I'm surprised the French actors' union didn't raise a stink.

This is a chase film with Judge Levy and her colonel either warm or hot on the trail of Brossard who goes from monastery to monastery receiving food, money and help. (In France a judge has vast investigative authority and can and does direct inquiries so the director could credibly have Swinton going from city to city. Imagine Judge Judy flitting about in a chopper ferreting out facts.) At times I thought I was watching a travelogue about the abbeys of Gaul.

There are, of course, hints of a dark conspiracy reaching beyond the Church that I won't reveal.

Caine's peripatetic suspect is deeply religious in the formulaic sense that absolution and ritual salve his conscience but in no way mediate his actions. Caine plays a dirtbag to perfection.

Possibly to avoid charges that the film is unfairly anti-Catholic we're told that

1) the Church is vast, has many subordinate bodies, and those at the top just can't know all that is happening (this defense comes from a gentle librarian-Jesuit priest who also happens to be black, the predominant racial group in the French church).

2) responsibility for aiding genocide by clerics was individual so don't trot out any revisionist Hochhuth/Cornwell/Goldenhagen theories arraigning the Church's leadership.

3) we can't forget that the Resistance was largely communist so maybe there's a rational justification for Vichy's supine collaboration and the very real clerical support for the Nazis if not for every French assisted atrocity.

I despise the mindless Francophobic reaction to France's lack of support for U.S. policy on Iraq. But for too long Vichy and its spineless leaders, Petain and Laval, never mentioned in the film, have gotten a bit of a free ride. So I was happy to see Brossard made frightened as his pursuers close in.

Enjoyable, some nice scenery. Not much more except that Michael Caine is always terrific. And so is Tilda Swinton who brings focused intensity to Judge Levy's unyielding crusade for justice, for that it is.

6/10.


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