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Thursday, April 16, 2009

The Reader

Rated: R for some scenes of sexuality and nudity.
Runtime: 2 hrs 4 mins
Genre: Dramas
Reviews :
Bernhard Schlink's "The Reader" was a terse, morally complex, erotically charged novel that examined the impact of German guilt on the generation born after the Holocaust.Director Stephen Daldry ("The Hours") and playwright David Hare have taken up the challenge of turning this double-edged, cerebral book into a film, and it's not surprising—movies being better at the visible than the internal—that the eroticism trumps the moral complexity.Fifteen-year-old Michael Berg (David Kross) is a well-educated schoolboy who, in 1958, falls into a passionate relationship with a secretive, tough, working-class wo-man 20 years older. Hanna (Kate Winslet) is a woman of few words, sudden rages and a hungry sexual appetite that's matched by her equal ardor for literature; she demands, as foreplay, that Michael read Homer, Twain and Chekhov to her.


Then one day, after seeing each other in secret all summer, Hanna vanishes. The next time Michael spots her, eight years later, he's a law student witnessing a war-crimes trial—and Hanna is in the dock. She's willing to confess her role as a guard at Auschwitz, but she has one secret—a far less damning one—that she clings to with even deeper shame.

"The Reader" is not about the horrors of the "final solution." It's about how Michael deals with the fact that the great first love of his life was implicated in these atrocities. Ralph Fiennes plays Michael in middle age— a parched, solitary man of the law whose unusual relationship with the older Hanna raises questions about his own moral compass. "The Reader" can feel stilted and abstract: the film's only flesh-and-blood characters spend half the movie separated. But its emotional impact sneaks up on you. "The Reader" asks tough questions, and, to its credit, provides no easy answers

Synopsis :
What is the nature of guilt–and how can the human spirit survive when confronted with deep and horrifying truths? The Reader, a hushed and haunting meditation on these knotty questions, is sorrowful and shocking, yet leavened by a deep love story that is its heart. In postwar Germany, young schoolboy Michael (German actor David Cross) meets and begins a tender romance with the older, mysterious Hanna (Kate Winslet, whose performance is a revelation). The two make love hungrily in Hanna’s shabby apartment, yet their true intimacy comes as Michael reads aloud to Hanna in bed, from his school assignments, textbooks, even comic books. Hanna delights in the readings, and Michael delights in Hanna.
Years later, the two cross paths again, and Michael (played as an adult by Ralph Fiennes) learns, slowly, horrifyingly, of acts that Hanna may have been involved in during the war. There is a war crimes trial, and the accused at one point asks the panel of prosecutors: “Well, what would you have done?” It is that question–as one German professor says later: “How can the next generation of Germans come to terms with the Holocaust?”–that is both heartbreaking and unanswerable. Winslet plays every shade of gray in her portrayal of Hanna, and Fiennes is riveting as the man who must rewrite history–his own and his country’s–as he learns daily, hourly, of deeds that defy categorization, and morality. “No matter how much washing and scrubbing,” one character says matter of factly, “some sins don’t wash away.” The Reader (with nods to similar films like Sophie’s Choice and The English Patient dares to present that unnerving premise, without offering an easy solution.

Starring: Kate Winslet, Ralph Fiennes, David Kross, Anthony Minghella, Lena Olin, Bruno Ganz, Jeanette Hain, Susanne Lothar, Matthias Habich
Director: Stephen Daldry

Screenwriter: David Hare

Producer: Anthony Minghella, Sydney Pollack, Donna Gigliotti, Redmond Morris
Composer: Nico Muhly
Studio: Weinstein Company



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