Review: ‘Never Look Away’ is a Novelistic Return to Form for Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck

One of the biggest challenges when making a film about a fictitious artist must be coming up with art that doesn’t make audience members question the admiration for the artist. In that sense, writer/director Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck covers his bases by using Gerhard Richter’s photorealistic pieces as the inspiration for the work created by Kurt Barnert (Tom Schilling), the protagonist of Never Look Away. So by the time a frustrated Kurt realizes he can turn painful memories into haunting paintings that see beyond the “reality” of a photograph, we are so immersed in his story that unexpected chills are the only possible reaction we can have upon seeing his first completed piece.

The other challenge of a quasi-biopic must certainly be writing a backstory plotty enough to feel novelistic, but subtle enough to feel as random and unplanned as real life, so that the more cynical
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