The Grey Zone

The Grey Zone ★★★★½

"We really did something"
"Yes...we did, goodbye"

Who knew that goofy little guy form 'Oh Brother Where Art Thou?' could direct such a wonderful movie? The dialogue is effective, even if it is highly uncharacteristic for the setting. The Grey Zone definitely offers one of the most modern lenses on a subject that has quite often been seen in cinema. Tim Blake Nelson has crafted a rather engrossing, albeit heartbreaking narrative. All the more impressive since he had to do it for chump change as far as film-making goes.

The story concerns a group of Jews who have opted out of a more immediate demise by offering their services in the Sonderkommandos. That is, they aided in the gassing, burning, and disposal of their kinsman, providing the hard labor for the Nazis. When a girl somehow survives, those who discover her try and hide her, which threatens a revolt that has been in the works.

I'm hesitant to reveal much more of the plot because this film truly is worth seeking out. While not perfect (aforementioned dialogue, and Harvey Keitel's utter inability to do an accent) this film should be talked about as one of the major films of it's decade. Unfortunately overshadowed by Roman Polanski's 'The Pianist', a more classical styled, yet similarly unrelenting WWII film, The Grey Zone is still a curious achievement. Seek it out for the performances of the leads, and the young girl. Seek it out for its tremendous design. Seek it out for nail biting conversations. Seek it out for a truly original take on the Holocaust. The Grey Zone will reward you in these respects. Most Holocaust stories will end on a note as to give us hope. A statement that humanity may always out do evil. This film lacks the happy ending. What it offers instead, is one of the most touching moments I've ever witnessed, and finally, the truth of its story prevails.

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