Thursday, March 31, 2016

Movie Review … Labyrinth Of Lies

Should one ignore past atrocities and move on or continue targeting those who perpetuated evil at a personal cost?  This is a question ‘Labyrinth of Lies’ effectively tackles.  By exploring a person’s mission in bringing former German Nazi officers to justice, it presents a myriad of intriguing themes for viewers to ponder.  ‘Labyrinth of Lies’ crafts a compelling narrative about the nature of national loyalty and those who carry out awful deeds under its name.

In 1958, Germany is still dealing with the scars of World War 2.  Grappling with the after-math is young public prosecutor Johann (Alexander Fehling).  Taking on the cases of dozens of survivors of the Auschwitz death camp, he targets his zeal towards the soldiers and doctors who worked there.  Finding his efforts continually frustrated by former Nazis still working in government, he is helped by journalist Simon (Johannes Krisch).  Johann’s actions ruffle feathers as his quest for justice forces him to question his place in post-war Germany.

‘Labyrinth of Lies’ lives up to its title in depicting a tangled story full of emotional dilemmas.  As Johann sifts through survivors’ evidence he pieces together a puzzle of vile complicity.  This reveals an interesting moral road-block in deciding if the Nazi soldiers were forced to do their deeds or were eager participants.  Life is ever black and white as ‘Labyrinth of Lies’ starkly shows.  The interference of government officials adds an element of danger to Johann’s mission as the tools of bureaucracy is used to further rattle fading Nazi power.

The direction and performances considerably aid in presenting facts in a non-hysterical manner.  No over-used orchestration or emotion is used as the damning evidence piles up.  ‘Labyrinth of Lies’ has an atmosphere of sadness but also a message of hope that justice eventually prevails.  There are many Johanns out there willing to right past wrongs just as the former Nazis he meets are all too willing to smother past atrocities.  The re-writing of history is also something the movie conveys with today’s modern world of mis-information disturbingly paralleled in the screenplay.

‘Labyrinth of Lies’ is consistently engaging and unafraid in forcing viewers to discover brutal facts.  The actions of Nazi officers were appalling but so is the ignorance of those wanting to hide the past.  Only when old wounds are healed can one truly move on which this film commendably tells. 



Movie Review Rating out of 10:  8

Movie Review by Patrick Moore

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Patrick Moore's Movie Review is an alternative look at movie releases in Australia.




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Sunday, March 27, 2016

Movie Review … The Witch

A good horror movie thrives on characters.  If they are sketchily written it is difficult investing in their plight.  The care factor would be down to zero diluting any suspenseful impact.  ‘The Witch’ realises this with strong characters evident.  Full of creepy tension and genuine dread, it’s an almost old-fashioned scary movie rarely seen.  This method is more than welcome with its discarding of clich├ęd ‘jump scares’ and pyrotechnics making it stand out in a crowded field.

In 1630, a family in New England, America are banished from a town for their religious beliefs.  William (Ralph Ineson), his wife Katherine (Kate Dickie) and their five children decide to live on a farm on the edge of a forest.  Tragedy strikes when their youngest son vanishes.  Aided by their eldest daughter Thomasin (Ana Taylor-Joy), they learn a witch stalks the forest.  Paranoia, fear and superstition arise to grip the family in its sinister embrace as evil rises to claim more victims.

Directing from his own screenplay, Robert Eggers presents a genuinely unsettling movie.  Anyone expecting gore and endless thrills will be disappointed.  Those wanting an intelligent horror movie full of percolating fear will gain much from ‘The Witch’.  Most of it is due to its themes of how beliefs impact on a familial unit and how it isolates them.  The harsh landscape perfectly captures this mood as the family’s reliance on each other is shaken to the core.

None of this would work without fine performances of which there are many.  Ineson and Taylor-Joy are especially good as characters with unfolding secrets.  Whilst the use of old world antiquated English provides authenticity it occasionally makes the story hard to follow.  Thankfully Eggers doesn’t rely too much on verbal exposition and instead concentrates on disturbing visuals and an excellent music score. 

‘The Witch’ is a very effective chiller with an approach that may not be to everyone’s tastes.  It delivers the goods with a multi-layered script and scares with it being the type of film that stays with you long after the end credits with a few dark dreams possibly assured.




Movie Review Rating out of 10:  8

Movie Review by Patrick Moore

Agree with Patrick's Movie Review? Then please use the comment box.

Patrick Moore's Movie Review is an alternative look at movie releases in Australia. 




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