Labyrinth of Lies

Labyrinth of Lies ★★★★

No one should be surprised that even Germany had to cocoon itself with a thick layer of barbed wire to keep from having to face what the country not only had just been through but many had actively and enthusiastically participated in. It's the early 60s and there are still people who when asked what "Aushwitz" was say, "Oh, it was a POW camp just like the British, French and Russians kept prisoners of war in." So, obviously even in West Germany the process of de-Nazification took a long time to penetrate a lot of thick skulls and denial. Of course, it wouldn't have been half so easy had not the Nazis themselves been such ferocious note takers of every inhuman act they performed and the Americans kept and filed away afterwards. Fortunately we have the idealistic young lawyer, Johann Radmann (Alexander Fehling) working for the Frankfurt city government to tend to the matter once he becomes alerted to the fact that a ruthless Nazi commandant is currently teaching children at an elementary school but the young lawyer is soon inundated by the denial of the culprits who slipped right back into German middle class life without a faretheewell and the other Germans who just don't want to have to hear it and remember it. Before he knows it or wanted it he realizes he's taken an enormous bull by the horns. Though there's very little violence in the film, just people reading Nazi-written descriptions of events that happened in the camps has a blood curdling effect. The recreation of a post war Germany quietly trying to rebuild itself and march to a new kind of state drum roll are elegantly recreated by the director, Giulio Ricciarelli and the film ends up, despite all its disappointments and false starts faced by the young lawyer, of being quite a moving drama.

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