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God on Trial (2008)

TV Movie  -   -  Drama | War  -  9 November 2008 (USA)
7.5
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Ratings: 7.5/10 from 1,445 users  
Reviews: 15 user | 3 critic

Awaiting their inevitable deaths at one of the worst concentration camps, a group of Jews make a rabbinical court to decide whether G-d has went against the holy covenant and if He is the one guilty for their suffering.

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(as Andy de Emmony)
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Title: God on Trial (TV Movie 2008)

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Joseph Muir ...
Kapo (as Joseph Alessi)
...
Isaac
...
Alexi Kaye Campbell ...
Doctor
...
Moche
...
Blockaltester
...
Schmidt
...
Mordechai
François Guétary ...
Jacques (as Francois Guetary)
David de Keyser ...
Hugo
Agnieszka Liggett ...
Tour Guide
Louise Mardenborough ...
Emily
...
Lieble
André Oumansky ...
Jacob
...
Idek
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Storyline

Wondering about the meaning and modalities of their triage, presumably to live or burn, Jewish Auschwitz barrack mates start to debate on how or why God can allow (his) people to suffer such fatal misery, which even further divides a devout father and his liberal son. They eventually form a Thora court, which hears theological argumentation as well as practical considerations. Written by KGF Vissers

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama | War

Certificate:

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Details

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Release Date:

9 November 2008 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

God on Trial  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Filmed over two weeks. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Tour Guide: Unfortunately our admission is not inclusive in your tour price, so sorry you must pay. But, um, the good news it's only 10 zlotas, so not so very bad.
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User Reviews

Not as perfect as some have suggested here but still a very good piece of television drama
25 November 2008 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

Despite opening with a rather clumsy narrative device for framing the story, this film is almost entirely set in a dormitory block in Auschwitz. The Jewish men in the block have already been divided into who will die tonight and who will not, while new arrivals are poured into the block a day earlier than expected. What comes out of this environment is a sort of trial where God is in the dock accused of breaking his covenant with the Jewish people – a debate about his actions, inactions and motivations if you will. It doesn't sound like a lot of fun to watch and indeed it sat on my HDR for quite some time before I recently got round to being in the mood for it (on a Saturday night weirdly enough, which probably says a lot about me). Seeing for myself I must admit to not being as won over by it as most other viewers seem to have been and I'm not sure if it me "not getting it" or others reviewing their feelings on the Holocaust generally rather than this film.

You see, the film is moving towards the end for reasons that should be obvious given the subject but for the vast majority the focus is on the discussion/trial between the men. This aspect is not as emotive but it did have the potential to be challenging and insightful. Mostly it is, and I found my attention easily held as different opinions were raised and evidence examined. The problem with it is that it is never as good or thought-provoking as I expected it to be. At times it is challenging but at others it seems less coherent and the "trial" structure weakens at these points. It is very good at times though and it was a shame that in some regards the final bookend scene felt like too neat a summary of the questions considering the emotion that had gone before, not quite a cop-out perhaps but not a million miles away from it either.

Where the film doesn't have a single problem is with the cast because every one of them is excellent. To pick one out would be unfair and Skarsgård, Dillane, Sher, Sheppard and all others are passionate and convincing. DeEmmony directs well within such a tight space – keeping it part of the story of course, but not letting it constrict the ability of the camera to get in and around the characters; although the material remains the feel of a play in regards the dialogue, the film certainly doesn't look like filmed theatre.

So mostly God on Trial is excellent, full of passionate performances, engaging dialogue and a real sense of place. It is not a massive problem that it feels like it doesn't deliver in the end and that the final scene itself just feels weak and convenient, flying in the face of everything that had gone before. Not as perfect as some have suggested here but still a very good piece of television drama from BBC2.


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