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Fateless (Unrated)

Release Date: January 6th, 2006 (NYC-Film Forum) by THINKfilm.
The Cast: Marcell Nagy, Áron Dimény, András M. Kecskés, József Gyabronka, Endre Harkányi, Daniel Craig.
Directed by Lajos Kaltoi.
In Hungarian and German with subtitles.

BASIC PREMISE: During the Holocaust, Gyuri (Nagy), a fourteen year-old Hungarian Jew, gets deported to a concentration camp.

ENTERTAINMENT VALUE: Fateless starts very promising as you meet Gyuri’s family while the threat of Nazi lingers all around their town. As Gyuri, Marcell Nagy gives a mediocre, unsurprising performance which fails to convince you. Each scene feels too short to be engaging, especially with all of the excessive jump-cuts and fade-to-blacks. Unlike in Schindler’s List , you don’t feel like you’re joining the main character through his difficult experiences. This distance between you and Gyuri makes for a few boring scenes that simply lack warmth. At the concentration camp, the plot gets slightly more suspenseful as he tries to escape death every minute. It would have been more interesting if he would interact with the other prisoners and perhaps develop a friendship or two. His character seems too blank and emotionless when it should be quite the contrary. He does have a crush on a girl in his building, but that relationship never becomes important until the end—nor is it ever believable. The only real surprise is a cameo with Daniel Craig, but even he doesn't enliven this film. The cinematography looks great throughout Fateless , especially in a scene where the camera is upside down shown from Gyuri’s viewpoint. The brown, black, grey and white colors all add to the murky atmosphere—it could easily have been in black-and-white with an even stronger impact. It’s also worth mentioning that the beautiful, a musical score enhances the scenes, but not enough to really hold your attention during the running time of two hours and forty minutes.

SPIRITUAL VALUE: The only real insight is in the last scene as Gyuri concludes what he has learned from his experiences. Unfortunately, you don’t get the feeling that he really means what he says because you don’t really have evidence of how he changed as a human being. He is certainly a lucky boy and knows there there’s hope out there during those harsh times. The scenes at the concentration camp are occasionally moving, but not enough to bring you to tears like you would expect them to.

INSULT TO YOUR INTELLIGENCE: A weak script with poorly edited scenes.


THE BOTTOM LINE: Beautiful cinematography and music. However, as a Holocaust film, it’s surprisingly unmoving with weak character development and many brief scenes that fade-to-black too quickly. Not nearly as powerful as it could have been.


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