It probably makes me look like a bad person, since this movie is based on a true story and all but I seriously couldn't care less for this movie or anything that happened in it, to any of its character.

I think the movie its biggest flaw is in its storytelling. It fails to make an impact on any emotional level, which causes me to not care for anything- or anyone in it. It on paper seems like a great and fascinating story, that besides has plenty of originally to it as well but the eventual movie is just, I'm sorry to say, very uninteresting to watch.

There is just never any real sense of danger in this movie. Sure, we know that the Jews had to hide and if the Nazi's found them, they probably would had all ended up dead but you don't ever feel like that could happen in this movie. It's because there really is no clear visible 'villain' present in the movie. The movie only tells the story completely from the Jewish side and doesn't feature any real German characters at all. Just a bunch of extra's, who's only purpose is to die.

Besides, there just is never any real sense of fear and desperation. With all respect but it almost seemed as if the Jews were having a summer camp in the woods, complete with self-build cabins, campfires and yes, even a party (I'm not even kidding), only set in the winterly cold of Belarus. it never feels like any of their lives is in real danger and the character's also surely don't act that way. Occasionally they start nagging about food, while debating whether they should fight or not, while at the same time still finding time to fall in love each other. It's as if the movie itself was having an hard time deciding what it wanted to be; a good, realistic, heartfelt WW II drama, or an overblown and sentimental, more mainstream, Hollywood drama, with all of the usual clich├ęs.

I don't mean to come down so hard on this movie, since it really isn't a bad one but it's just that it's such wasted potential, that does far too much wrong to leave an impact, on any level.

I can really fall in love with an Edward Zwick movie, no matter how overblown and over-dramatic some of them can get at times but as is the case with (too) many of his movies, sometimes he's just overdoing it. This is also the case with this movie. It feels to me as if it wanted to desperately to be a big, dramatic story about survival but somewhere in its progress forgot about its main story and emotions and got sidetracked far too often and far too easily. Most of the stuff and characters in this movie just aren't really interesting, no matter how close to the truth it was or not, due to the way the movie, its story and its characters are all progressing. Guess that somewhere deep down there is still a great and meaningful movie, that unfortunately remains hidden all of the time.

Not even the presence of lots of big name actors can really help to movie. Daniel Craig and Liev Schreiber can't really make their characters seem more interesting than they were on paper, so I wouldn't blame them for the fact that their characters and all of the movie its emotions and developments aren't really working out as intended.

Again, it's not an horrible movie or one that I hated watching, it's just a big waste of, what seems to be in its core, a great, interesting and fascinating story. Instead now it's a movie that doesn't make an impact and it's one that I will probably easily forget about soon.


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About Frank Veenstra

Watches movies...writes about them...and that's it for now.
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