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This is the best movie I have seen in a very long time. A completely intriguing script, with some really good acting. Jeff Golblum is playing a Jewish man and lands a powerful and extraordinary performance. Although he has faults at the beginning with the accent, he clearly improves during the movie. This is not a gruesome war movie. In fact, I didn't see one person murdered. It's a psychological drama that revolves around the tormented soul that Jeff Golblum portrays. A tragedy mixed with really dark humour that will keep your attention for the entirety of the film. It's rare that you see Hollywood actors doing such dark, confronting, art-house kind of movies, but this one works and I'm going to recommend it to lots of people.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
It all begins rather straight-forwardly. Stein was a clown and stage
performer in Berlin, a man without politics, working with his wife and
children to bring joy to those who attended his shows. Through
flashbacks we see how his audience slowly becomes more and more Nazi,
going from one stray soldier with swastika to a barroom full of
military. He is eventually told he can no longer perform and, being
Jewish, it is only a matter of time before he and his kin are placed on
a train out of the ghetto and into a camp. Back in the present,
however, his affable nature and overabundance of intelligence show a
seemingly well-adjusted man, one the patients relate to, the doctors
rely on to bridge the gap between them and the survivors, and who has
seduced the head nurse, a woman half his age, into an affair that the
head doctor knows about and turns the other way. You see Dr. Nathan
Gross (Derek Jacobi) feels he can help Stein, knowing that there is
something buried deep down inside him, a guilt we can only assume stems
from the fact that his family is nowhere to be seen. It appears he has
survived while the rest disappeared. Only by giving him some freedom
and trust can he begin to try and help.
Stein uses his charm and charisma, that which made him such a success on the stage in Germany, to become the favorite of alllaughing with the patients, not at them; engaging in his love affair with Ayelet Zurer's Nurse Grey; partaking in his secret stash of alcohol hidden away in every vent around the building; and just making the most of his stay, as though it's all a vacation. That is until one morning when he hears a distant barking. Discovering there is a dog in the hospitalsomething he was promised from day one would never occurhe begins to seek it out. Finally stumbling across the room with the animal, he gets down on all fours and turns into a canine himself. Barking, drooling, lashing out at the staff, Stein is not as put together as we had once thought.
This all now leads to the true nature of the film. I believe it is the most original tale of WWII and the Holocaust that I have seen. While most these days focus on the camps and the battles and how much they affect those involved at the present, Adam Resurrected shows us the long-lasting ramifications being treated as an inferior, as an animal, that the experience had. The film is all about the psychological scarring the war left on these survivors, from the abuse, the torture, the separation from loved ones, and even the fact that they are alive while so many are not. One may call Adam Stein a lucky man for the series of events that transpired to him. Lucky that he was seen by a man for whom he read the mind of during one of his acts in Germany, a Commandant played by Willem Dafoe who took Stein under his wing to make him laugh and forget about the horrible things he was doing; lucky that all he had to do was pretend to be a dog, doing tricks for his master while all the other Jews worked outside biding their time until death. Only when you see the toying that went on, Stein desperately attempting to save his family, doing everything he is asked for by this man he saved from committing suicide not long ago, do you see how much easier it would have been if he had just been killed.
Goldblum's Stein is a tour de force, a performance he spent a year researching and preparing for. This broken man has all his armor stripped away by the barking of some thing hidden under a sheet in a room. It is either a dog or maybe someone like him, someone degraded so much that he has become an animal in appearance as well as in spirit. Goldblum plays the magician to perfection, his quirkiness lending itself to the clownish way he goes about his life, but portrays the tortured soul to great effect too; a man able to control his own body, making it bleed, making it get sick, destroying himself over and over again as he does his best to help those around him, not yet in a healthy enough state to help himself. Utterly believable and completely transformed in his character, Adam Stein is whom we see on screen. A Holocaust survivor only starting to overcome the pain and sorrow inflicted upon him during the war and after, a man coming to grips with the fact that his name is not Stein but the number burned into his arm.
I credit Schrader for directing a stellar film, allowing Goldblum to really perform his heart out for the duration, a time span for which he is in frame almost 100% of the time. The attention to detail is impeccable, right down to the toy train at the hospital, a locomotive that gets under Stein's skin, perhaps a little too much until we are shown the flashback to the train that transported the Jews, both exact replicas of each other, making that toy a symbol of his incarceration. Adam Resurrected is truly a story of his journey to find salvation, for himself and those around him. A great line comes from a response to one man's quest for God as follows, "God is out to lunch. He left a note; it's on your arm." Maybe God abandoned them all as he sat back and watched the atrocities occur, but these people, the doctors, patients, and Stein especially, won't give themselves that luxury. They are there for the long run, doing their best to survive and cope with the fact that they still have the gift of life, hopefully with enough time to make something of it.
Jeff Goldlum does the best "Jeff Goldblum" in the business. If you hire him to do a "Jeff Goldblum" performance, it's like money in the bank. But _Adam Resurrected_ is not that. Goldblum's Adam is a nuanced, unpredictable and intelligent piece of work, the best of his career thus far. Indeed, the film as a whole represents a welcome return to adult themes and emotions. Sorrow, loss, power, human dignity, and human degradation are but some of the themes at work in Schrader's movie. Happily, we are not handed a tidy resolution (with the requisite "redemption" at the end), but a deep sense that life is a complicated, conflicted and layered experience. See this film when and if you get tired of CGI effects, Ben Stiller fart jokes and "the genius of Seth Rogen."
I am surprised at the hatefully negative reviews this movie has gotten.
But then I suppose anything that handles a truly dark subject matter,
and doesn't spoon feed the audience doesn't get much praise.
This movie is excellent with excellent performances. I didn't mind the accent because it doesn't matter. The meaning of the movie, and the metaphors of film employed are brilliant.
The movie details the struggle of a former circus performer and celebrity with his guilt over surviving his family in the holocaust. Goldblum portrays a man who finds insanity more comfortable then sanity, because sanity brings with it sad truths.
While the purpose of the comments here (to my understanding) are to
help folks decide if they wish to see a film, I for one do not
understand why it seems so important for some reviews to be so
specifically critical. In fact "Author: uncertain from Poland" said it
best "turn it off" but left out the most important part. That is His
(or) Her opinion. So some did not like the film, then "turn it off" or
don't watch it. But to react in such a ugly manor at makes it appear
you have the only correct opinion as to the rest of humanity that might
wish to see it? I just do not understand.
While I may be just a "goy" and due to my upbringing, understand very little about the horrors and joys Jewish history. I for one found this film an excellent escape from my current reality. Showing yet another piece of "what could be", exposing more history that is too often swept under the rug. Isn't that what films are suppose to do? Provide some escape and provoke thought?
"Never Again" rings so true, and those that some how managed to survive and continue I would imagine would all applaud the combined efforts of all the actors, directors, and staff for producing such a great film.
If you do not like what you are seeing, stop looking, change the channel, if one has to be so negative (to sleep at night) I feel sorry for them. But attempt to control what I can view and think? Well, that is a battle left alone, as I tire of stooping to their level to acknowledge them. While everyone does have a right to their point of view, too many seem to think the world revolves around them, and not around us.
I have been a fan of Mr Goldblum for many years, and this is (in my humble opinion) his best performance yet! I will be so very disappointed if he is not awarded an Academy Award for his performance in this movie. Dark as it may have been. Well worth seeing.
Intriguing and surreal movie with an outstanding performance by Jeff
Goldblum, whose name should have been in the mix for any number of
acting awards for this film. Holocaust-related movies generally don't
get deliver box office results, but this is a strikingly good treatment
that deserves a wider audience. Watch it and get the word of mouth out
Paul Schrader, whose had a hand in more than a few films about human darkness, creates an intriguing film here. The "arms" scene at towards the end of the film is worth the price of admission on its own. Right up there with "I am Spartacus" or the "I'm still here, you bastards" last line from "Papillon". Powerful stuff. Derek Jacobi, Willem DeFoe, Ayelet Zurer, a frighteningly good Romanian kid named Tudor Rapiteanu, and the rest of international cast do yeoman's work.
Always been a fan of Jeff Goldblum's read on a line...and he's at the top of his game in "Adam".
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Paul Schrader's latest film concerns Adam Stein, a patient in a mental
hospital caring for those who suffered during the Holocaust. Adam was
once a great comedy performer known through out Germany. Haunted by the
past when he had to act as a dog for the Commandant of the camp as well
as play violin for the prisoners as they went into the gas chambers,
Adam is just trying to get by. He refuses to deal with his past until a
small boy who thinks he's a dog shows up at the hospital.
The film is more magical realism than stark reality (Adam has a psychic ability) and is more an allegory of the the struggle of people to survive. It is a Holocaust tale to be sure, but the implications of its themes apply to everyone's life. Are we all not a little mad? Are we all not locked in our own prisons? I'm not sure the film is wholly successful in exploring all of its themes but at the same time it is one huge helping of food for thought.
The real find of the film is Jeff Goldblum. Sure we all knew he is a great actor, but I for one never really knew how great he was. Here he goes through every emotion imaginable. He is funny and touching and heart breaking and human. He becomes Adam Stein, disappearing into the role so completely that you stop thinking its an actor and instead see him as the character. Its a masterful performance that unjustly got overlooked by the Oscars.
If you want to see a fantastic performance in a dark, but hopeful tale, see this film. It will stay with you.
To deal with the inconceivable you need to create a vocabulary that extends beyond the conventional. The powerful performances, the extraordinary literary devices and the sublime directing and editing help enormously. The end result, a satisfying glimpse into the ineffable is achieved by providing a vision, revealing a landscape that defies revelation. An unique and necessary achievement. An artistic collaborative triumph of the spirit. The difficulties in the conventional narrative are actually an opportunity to explore facets of the spectrum human behavior, from the animal/dog, human and the divine within. Most helpful was the extras on the DVD that provided additional background. BRAVO! And now part II please.
Willem Dafoe is now Commandant Klein, and he is in charge of a
concentration camp. Previously, he was a guest at a show of one of
Germany's greatest clowns, Adam Stein (Jeff Goldblum), and now Stein
stands before him in his camp. He graciously agrees to free Stein if he
does two things, (1) act like a dog for his amusement, and (2) play the
violin while his wife and daughter march to their deaths in the gas
Having lost his humanity, Adam is in and out of mental institutions while living in Israel. The patients love him, the doctor (Derek Jacobi) is fascinated with his case, and the head nurse (Ayelet Zurer)wants his body - why, I could never figure out.
Adam comes upon a young boy (Tudor Rapiteanu) in the cellar of the institution and begins a transformation that not only cures the boy, but restores his humanity.
The back and forth flashback may be disturbing to some, but it is essential to the story, and gives us a chance to enjoy the excellence that Dafoe brings to the screen.
Goldblum is excellent, as he always is.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This is a highlight. "Adam resurrected" is a powerful narration about a German-Jewish Holocaust survivor and his struggle to cope with his traumata in a psycho-therapeutic clinic in Israel. Adam Stein, our protagonist, embodied by Jeff Goldblum, has survived a German concentration camp but lost his family. An SS-officer made him live and behave like a dog and it is only when another dog-like being arrives in the clinic that Stein finds a way to escape his manic world of excess. An extraordinarily mighty and brilliant performance by Jeff Goldblum who carries the whole movie to a difficult, funny and intense experience.
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