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The Statement (2003)

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Tale of a former Nazi executioner who becomes a target of hit men and Police investigators.

Director:

Norman Jewison

Writers:

Ronald Harwood (screenplay), Brian Moore (novel)
4 wins. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Michael Caine ... Pierre Brossard
Tilda Swinton ... Annemarie Livi
Jeremy Northam ... Colonel Roux
Alan Bates ... Armand Bertier
Charlotte Rampling ... Nicole
John Neville ... Old Man
Ciarán Hinds ... Pochon
Frank Finlay ... Commissaire Vionnet
William Hutt William Hutt ... Le Moyne
Matt Craven ... David Manenbaum
Noam Jenkins ... Michael Levy
Peter Wight ... Inspector Cholet
Malcolm Sinclair ... Cardinal of Lyon
Colin Salmon ... Father Patrice
David de Keyser David de Keyser ... Dom André (as David De Keyser)
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Storyline

Tale of a former Nazi executioner who becomes a target of hit men and Police investigators.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

At the end of World War II, many of those involved in war crimes were prosecuted. Some got away. Until now.

Genres:

Thriller | Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for violence | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

Canada | France | UK

Language:

English | German | Italian | Latin | French

Release Date:

27 February 2004 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

A Confissão See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$23,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$37,220, 14 December 2003, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$763,044, 28 March 2004
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital | SDDS

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The film cast includes two Oscar winners: Sir Michael Caine and Tilda Swinton; and four Oscar nominees: Charlotte Rampling, Alan Bates, Norman Jewison, and Frank Finlay. See more »

Goofs

As Brossard is about to place the body of the first assassin into the car, he lifts the dead man's arms into the air in order to sit the body up. As he lets go of the arms, they do not immediately drop as they would for a dead man. Instead, they hesitate, then slowly drop to the ground. See more »

Connections

Features Only You (1994) See more »

Soundtracks

Le premier bonheur du jour
Performed by Françoise Hardy
Written by Jean Renard & Frank Gerald
Published by Les Nouvelles Editions Meridian (SACEM), c/o peermusic Canada, Inc.
Courtesy of Disques Vogue S.A., by arrangement with BMG Music Canada, Inc.
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User Reviews

 
A Good Adaptation of a Thriller
13 December 2003 | by lawprofSee all my reviews

Your comments will be displayed as follows: A good adaptation of Brian Moore's thriller novel, director Norman Jewison's "The Statement" has its ups and downs.

Michael Caine, who has played many English roles as well as being an American abortion providing doctor, now takes on elderly Frenchman Pierre Brossard, once a shining star of the toady Vichy police force without which the Nazis could never have murdered some 77,000 French Jews. A small percentage of the Holocaust toll but not an unimportant one. Among other acts he participated in the roundup and murder of seven Jews. Such an incident was the basis for the novel.

A man who may belong to a Jewish revanchist organization is killed by Brossard before he can shoot the wheezing, cardiac condition-afflicted former right-hand helpmate for the SS. He's been sheltered for forty years by members of the Catholic clergy.

Tilda Swinton is Judge Levy assigned along with Jeremy Northam, a French army colonel, to find and bring Brossard to trial based on a new law reviving prosecutions against those who committed crimes against humanity. Actually, every important actor in this film except for Charlotte Rampling, who has a small role as Brossard's wife, is English. I'm surprised the French actors' union didn't raise a stink.

This is a chase film with Judge Levy and her colonel either warm or hot on the trail of Brossard who goes from monastery to monastery receiving food, money and help. (In France a judge has vast investigative authority and can and does direct inquiries so the director could credibly have Swinton going from city to city. Imagine Judge Judy flitting about in a chopper ferreting out facts.) At times I thought I was watching a travelogue about the abbeys of Gaul.

There are, of course, hints of a dark conspiracy reaching beyond the Church that I won't reveal.

Caine's peripatetic suspect is deeply religious in the formulaic sense that absolution and ritual salve his conscience but in no way mediate his actions. Caine plays a dirtbag to perfection.

Possibly to avoid charges that the film is unfairly anti-Catholic we're told that

1) the Church is vast, has many subordinate bodies, and those at the top just can't know all that is happening (this defense comes from a gentle librarian-Jesuit priest who also happens to be black, the predominant racial group in the French church).

2) responsibility for aiding genocide by clerics was individual so don't trot out any revisionist Hochhuth/Cornwell/Goldenhagen theories arraigning the Church's leadership.

3) we can't forget that the Resistance was largely communist so maybe there's a rational justification for Vichy's supine collaboration and the very real clerical support for the Nazis if not for every French assisted atrocity.

I despise the mindless Francophobic reaction to France's lack of support for U.S. policy on Iraq. But for too long Vichy and its spineless leaders, Petain and Laval, never mentioned in the film, have gotten a bit of a free ride. So I was happy to see Brossard made frightened as his pursuers close in.

Enjoyable, some nice scenery. Not much more except that Michael Caine is always terrific. And so is Tilda Swinton who brings focused intensity to Judge Levy's unyielding crusade for justice, for that it is.

6/10.


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