Wednesday, November 18, 2015

The First "Son of Saul" Trailer is Not for Those Easily Distressed

Scene from Son of Saul
A little while ago, I talked about the shortlist for the Best Foreign Film candidates for 2015. Among the ones that I highlighted was director Laszlo Nemes' Son of Saul, which has been considered a dark and challenging look into the Holocaust through the eyes of a prisoner stuck in a compromised position. With the first trailer for the film released today, it definitely is one that is going to be a tough watch, but almost helps to solidify its chances of an Oscar nomination. Full of bleak imagery, it is likely to be an unforgettable experience for whomever decides to sit down and check it out. Even if the trailer is vague, I suggest holding off if unpleasant images are going to bother you right now.

In general, I think that war films have always had a better advantage than any other genre. There's something inherently patriotic about having to like the films simply because of its message. Over the past few years, there have been a handful that come to mind, including last year's Fury and Unbroken, which had fleeting moments of inspiration, but tried too hard to capture a bleak atmosphere that connects viewers to the harshness of war. Rarely does it actually succeed in being more than unique imagery that can be beautiful, but comes up a little short.

For months now, I have heard about Son of Sam from my various movie critic cohorts. The general consensus is that it is a film unlike any other. This could be considered fluffy language, but their commentary about the dark subject matter and it being possibly more bleak than Schindler's List has made it both attractive and also a little off putting. I doubt that it will be the breakout foreign film of the year. However, I do think that it is going to strike a chord, especially since this is Nemes' first movie. Beyond these reviews, I know very little and can only hope that the film is as great as everyone claims.

Check out the trailer below:

Wow. It's definitely intense. Even if you don't know what's going on, the imagery is immediately striking and likely to put you into unease. Again, if disturbing visuals disturb you, I'd recommend holding off on reading the plot description, which only highlights the images in a clearer light. The plot according to IMDb is:
In the horror of 1944 Auschwitz, a prisoner forced to burn the corpses of his own people finds moral survival upon trying to salvage from the flames the body of a boy he takes for his son.
I will admit that as intrigued that I am to see it, it will be tough to sit down and try to watch a film with a description like that. War, in general, is an unpleasant though; and Holocaust dramas are among the most personal and distressing of the bunch. I am unsure when I will get a chance to see it, but I can only hope that it lives up to the word of mouth that I have heard. It's definitely going to be one of those films that I plan to hear a lot about. I just hope that my friends weren't wrong and this is as wrenching as they claim.

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