Monday, July 18, 2005

The Grey Zone


Dir: Tim Blake Nelson

Absolutely unrelenting Holocaust drama adapted from Nelson's play. While the recent trend in Nazi movies is to find some compassion or triumph of the human spirit amidst the horror (Schindler's List, The Piano, and of course Life is Beautiful), in this narrative the totality of evil in the setting forces a situational ethics that destroys the humanity of everyone involved.

The story chronicles concentration camp prisoners who, in various ways, contributed to the deaths of other inmates either through cooperation or defiance. An exceptionally nuanced study of complicity, the movie highlights both the inevitability (defensibility?) of selfishness and the convulted ways that they define evil so as to demarcate between themselves and the Nazis. You could abolutely show this movie to an ethics class, if you wanted them all sobbing and slack jawed for two weeks that is.

In fact, the movie is quite overwhelming. I just watched it with Michelle (in MI now, BTW). It is hard for both of us to even talk about it until it can be digested. A punishing movie to view. Perhaps I will blog more about it after some time.

I am very facinated to hear what it might say to others about complicity with evil, at the macro and micro levels. If anyone out there watches it, I urge tracking me down to discuss it. In IFC's rotation now.