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The Grey Zone (2001)
Nice but yet again.
Another American movie distorting facts.
This movie is about the rebellion that happened at Auschwitz. It is also about the life of the sonderkommandos manning the crematoriums. This is not a bad movie, in fact I enjoyed it and it had good points.
The setting is interesting and it is quite a fresh try on a subject that has been used often. This movie captures very well the ambiance of the Birkenau crematoriums. It is very crude and disturbing.
Historically, it is doubtful. The rebellion did not happen like that and wasn't very planned, then again maybe there wasn't much to tell from a narrative point of view. Some unrealistic situations seem to have been slipped in just to put some emphasis on the monstrosity of the shoah, frankly I don't think it was necessary.
What bugged me though was the performance of the actors, really American sounding. We feel like the crematoriums are manned by a bunch of hoodlums. The guards talk in German or sometimes in English with a phony sounding accent, more like a french accent than a German. At one part this comes very confusing since everyone speaks English but we are supposed to understand that this guy speaks Hungarian and this other in German. The script also isn't very good, we get some kind of confrontations with highly eloquent quotes and revealing declarations, it sounds overdone.
I think that anyone interested in the subject should see this movie but still it is far from perfection.
Across the Universe (2007)
A tangle of unnecessary plots.
After seeing this movie I felt like I had wasted two precious hours of my life, seriously it is really bad and most of it is just wasting your time before getting to the point.
The story could be summed on a one page script, except that the movie takes an annoying pleasure of taking you into useless trips and events that eventually come to an end brutally without influencing anything else in the story. You then feel like you have been taken in a trip just to hear a goddamn song not nearly as good as the original and often barely linked to the plot.
If you really want to see this mess, then stop reading right here because next comes spoilers about the useless tales in this movie. Else, read on.
As an example: (SPOILER) We meet Prudence at the beginning of the movie which is a lesbian cheerleader. We see her singing her sadness that she can't tell her love to another cheerleader. Then later prudence comes again in the movie, sad because she is in love with the Janice Joplin de service. After she disappears again, our useless Beatles song bearing name crew leaves on a trip with the walrus (which seems to be some sort of guru) in a psychedelic bus. The Walrus gets tired of the movie and leaves our team unexpectedly never to be seen again. Then the bunch ends up in a weird circus where there is an act in which prudence is. The girl is just barely visible so Jude points out and says "There's prudence!" Hurray for her! EXIT PRUDENCE because that's the last time we see her. The gang just realizes then that they had a story going on and they get back to it. If you take the whole walrus/circus/prudence thing out of the movie, it doesn't change anything, it has NO INFLUENCE on the main script. Just like the time where Jude's girl joins a terrorist crew which blows themselves out of the script without any influence whatsoever because the scripter didn't knew how to make it come to an end in a decent way. The story is filled with these and that's why the movie is wasting your time.
Also the analogies with the Beatles tunes are really far fetched. Such as the walrus and (SPOILER) when Jude wants to design a logo and then thinks about Vietnam then smashes strawberries on a wall so Strawberry Fields Forever... which makes perfect sense in everybody's mind, right? That's just one example and that's why the movie is bad.
Last, since when the Beatles were an American thing or linked somewhat to the Vietnam??? Seriously you should get the soundtrack if you want to hear the tunes. Stay far away from the movie, for if you die of a heart attack during it you would have died in vain.