Osita Nwanevu is a contributing editor at The New Republic.
Don’t forget to select your favorite films!
Mostly an interesting work of sound design. Could've done with more on family life under the shadow and smoke of the camps. Could've done with more on the bureaucracy of it all. Could've done with more on subjugation and quiet resistance. Any would've worked. We're left with gestures in each direction. Just felt slight. 'The Nazis were people.' Well, alright. And? Does it even fully realize them?
An egomaniac ventures abroad convinced that he can remake the world and that he wants to do so for noble reasons. He accomplishes nothing, gets scores of those who trusted him killed, commits some war crimes, and returns home consumed with self-loathing and the very same longing for purpose and meaning that pulled him away in the first place. Dated and irrelevant, obviously.
It works. Not the sex. Not the Kennedy tease. Not the montage near the beginning where Nolan tries to impress upon us, via closeups of a Picasso, that modernism is happening to a young Oppy's brain in a way that will culminate, somehow, in the development of the atomic bomb. But the thing as a whole -- it does mostly work. Nearly every performance is a little gem. The hacky rattling of the walls and scenery as a reflection of…