The rise of national socialism in Germany should not be regarded as a conspiracy of madmen. Millions of "good" people found themselves in a society spiralling into terrible chaos. A film about then, which illuminates the terrors of now.
The film is a biblical soap-opera whose action unfolds in the Californian desert. Karen and Wes's marriage is crumbling apart - like a sandcastle. Karen can't even make love to her husband ... See full summary »
John Halder is a 'good' and decent individual with family problems: a neurotic wife, two demanding children and a mother suffering from senile dementia. A literary professor, Halder explores his personal circumstances in a novel advocating compassionate euthanasia. When the book is unexpectedly enlisted by powerful political figures in support of government propaganda, Halder finds his career rising in an optimistic current of nationalism and prosperity. Seemingly inconsequential decisions lead to choices, which lead to more choices... with eventually devastating effect. Written by
The music played at the end by the Jewish prisoners is Gustav Mahler's first symphony, third movement. This movement uses as one of its themes a parody of the popular children song "Frère Jacques", and the whole symphony borrows heavily from one of Mahler's song cycles, Lieder eines Fahrenden Gesellen. The last song, "Die zwei blauen Augen" (The two blue eyes) can be heard sometimes during the movie, as in the end of the movie shoot and as part of the symphony's movement being played. See more »
In the scene, when Halder takes a walk with his ex-wife in the cemetery, which is supposed to be in Berlin, Germany, Hungarian names are clearly visible on the gravestones. See more »
What have I done? What have I done? You can imagine that Professor John Halder (Viggo Mortensen) was asking that question over and over.
He seemed not to understand what was happening to him as he let himself be used by the Nazi's. First, he joins the party, then he loses his lifelong friend simply because he was Jewish. It was only when he was picked to inspect the death camps did he come to a full realization of the depths into which he had sunk.
How do you cook a lobster? If you throw it into a pot of boiling water it will scream and jump out. But, if you put it in water and slowly raise the temperature, it boils before it knows what/s happening. Professor Halder was put in tepid water and the temperature raised gradually until the shock hit him full force, and he could not escape.
Mortensen was very good, but his friend Morris (Jason Isaacs), a Jew, was excellent.
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