I’ve been saying all along that Fatih Akin‘s In The Fade (Magnolia, 12.27) is a gripping, must-see melodrama, and that Diane Kruger‘s fierce, emotionally raw performance — she plays a widow seeking vengeance against neo-Nazi terrorists who’ve murdered her son and Turkish-born husband — absolutely warrants a Best Actress Oscar nomination.
This grim but compelling German-lanugage drama, which has been shortlisted for the 2017 Best Foreign-Language Feature Oscar, finally opens tomorrow in Los Angeles (West L.A.’s Royal) and New York (IFC Center, Landmark at 57 West).
In The Fade is much better film than the aggregate critic scores — 60% from Metacritic, 63% from Rotten Tomatoes — would have you think. I know when a film is nailing it true and straight, and there’s no question that Akin’s film is worth seeing at a theatre, paying for parking. buying the popcorn, etc.
In The Fade director, producer and screenwriter Fatih Akin during a recent chat the Four Seasons hotel in Beverly Hills.
From my 10.4.17 review: “Set mostly in Hamburg, Fade starts with Katja (Kruger), her clean-living Kurdish/Turkish husband Nuri (Numan Acar) with a drug-dealing past, and their young son Rocco in happy-family mode. That lasts less than ten minutes. A home-made nail bomb outside Nuri’s office explodes, and Katja is suddenly a child-less widow. She wilts under agonizing pain and a near-total emotional meltdown, and understandably decides to temporarily medicate with drugs, and then nearly ends it all by slitting her wrists.
“But then a suspicion she’d shared with her attorney, Danilo (Denis Moschitto), about anti-immigrant Nazis having planted the bomb turns out to be accurate. Katja learns that evidence she had given the police has led to the arrest of Andre and Edda Moller (Ulrich Brandhoff, Hanna Hilsdorf), a pair of young neo-Nazis with international connections. There’s no doubt these two are the culprits — Katja had seen Edda leave a bicycle near her husband’s office two or three hours before the blast.
“Then comes a second-act portion dealing with a trial of the accused that doesn’t end satisfactorily, and finally a third act in which the acutely frustrated Katja travels to Greece to carry out her own form of revenge-justice. “Co-written by Akin and Hark Bohn, In The Fade draws upon far-right hate attacks against minorities in Germany, which is obviously a thing given the recent nationalist pushback against Syrian refugee immigration. The beef against In The Fade is that Akin has completely avoided the pattern of Islamic radical attacks across Europe, and that focusing only on German Islamophobia is incomplete and disingenuous.
“That’s an arguable point, but at the same time I see nothing fundamentally wrong in telling this story solely from Katja’s persepctive. She is dealing with the murder of her husband and son, after all, and is focusing, as nearly all victim-related family members do, on obtaining some form of satisfaction from the punishing of the guilty. I understood and accepted her perspective within this horrific realm.”