John Halder, a German literature professor in the 1930s, is initially reluctant to accept the ideas of the Nazi Party. He is pulled in different emotional directions by his wife, mother, mistress and Jewish friend.
Algeria, 1954. Two very different men thrown together by a world in turmoil are forced to flee across the Atlas mountains. Daru, the reclusive teacher, has to escort Mohamed, a villager accused of murder.
Based on the powerful novel by Ray Loriga. A young man and a young girl's lives are united under dramatic circumstances. He has just shot a security guard in the face who had accused him of... See full summary »
John Halder is a 'good' and decent individual with family problems: a neurotic wife, two demanding children and a mother suffering from senile dementia. A literary professor, Halder explores his personal circumstances in a novel advocating compassionate euthanasia. When the book is unexpectedly enlisted by powerful political figures in support of government propaganda, Halder finds his career rising in an optimistic current of nationalism and prosperity. Seemingly inconsequential decisions lead to choices, which lead to more choices... with eventually devastating effect.Written by
Ernst Eduard vom Rath was a German diplomat stationed in Paris who was shot and killed by the young Polish Jew Herschel Grynszpan. The death of vom Rath served as the casus belli for Hitler's Kristallnacht orders. Although the Nazis eventually got custody of Grynszpan when France fell, they never staged a trial and the motives for vom Rath's murder remain unclear. Historians have speculated that vom Rath and the younger Grynszpan (17 at the time of the murder) were involved romantically, and this somehow precipitated the murder. See more »
In the scene, when Halder takes a walk with his ex-wife in the cemetery, which is supposed to be in Berlin, Germany, Hungarian names are clearly visible on the gravestones. See more »
We probably met him, you know? When we were at Ypres, October of that year, 16th Bavarian were in the line next to us. He'd have been running dispatches back and forth.
You may have sent him on an errand.
"Oi, you! Lance Corporal! Yes, you, short arse. Get over here!"
And he'd have saluted you., imagine that.
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What have I done? What have I done? You can imagine that Professor John Halder (Viggo Mortensen) was asking that question over and over.
He seemed not to understand what was happening to him as he let himself be used by the Nazi's. First, he joins the party, then he loses his lifelong friend simply because he was Jewish. It was only when he was picked to inspect the death camps did he come to a full realization of the depths into which he had sunk.
How do you cook a lobster? If you throw it into a pot of boiling water it will scream and jump out. But, if you put it in water and slowly raise the temperature, it boils before it knows what/s happening. Professor Halder was put in tepid water and the temperature raised gradually until the shock hit him full force, and he could not escape.
Mortensen was very good, but his friend Morris (Jason Isaacs), a Jew, was excellent.
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