In The Fade Review (Toronto International Film Festival)

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Fatih Akin’s In The Fade is a montage of a mother’s pain and grief, an odyssey through chapter-like pieces — the beginning, middle and end of one woman’s personal destruction and how she comes to deal with it. Akin (The Cut) also looks at the rise of far-right extremism in Germany and the repercussions that come with a violence answered with violence mindset. Diane Kruger (Inglorious Basterds) shines as Katja Sekerci, a bookkeeper for her Kurdish husband, Nuri’s (Numan Acar) business. She’s an ex-bad girl type with tattoos and messy hair, now a settled motherly figure that stood by Nuri — who was serving a prison sentence for drug possession when they first married. He’s a broad man with a strong look but obviously reformed and dedicated to his second chance at life. The family trio is impossible to dislike, they are intriguing and endearing from the start, so when a nail bomb decimates both Nuri and six-year-old son, Rocco, the pain and shock on Kruger’s face echoes the audiences’ own dismay, the perfect family snatched away by collateral hate and treachery.

It’s all very formulaic but effective, thanks to the apt undercurrent surging through, the look at the dangers of hate answered with hate and the disastrous state of sociopolitical tensions rising in Europe and other parts of the world.

Akin follows Katja in close-ups of watery eyes and ghastly expression, he never leaves Kruger’s side and for good reason, it’s a career defining performance for the German actress, she’s never over the top or unbelievable, keeping the emotion graceful and genuine, owning the role with utter elegance. However, the overall affair is not up to par, Akin struggles with the juggling act of three films in one: the first devastating act and portrait of a unique family, the court room nightmare and the final stretch that borders on old school revenge porn.

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It’s all very formulaic, but effective, thanks to the apt undercurrent surging through, the look at the dangers of hate brewing hate and the disastrous state of sociopolitical tensions rising in Europe and other parts of the world. This is just a peek at the aftershock enveloping one person, a life crumbling after being touched by a far greater evil she could have ever imagined. The corruption runs deep in Akin’s world of shadowy Neo-Nazi horrors, even the defense lawyer working for the young blonde terrorists is a classic villain type. Bald and stern — he appears sickly with a maniacal smirk to top it off. We see the terror cell located all the way to the pale beaches of Greece, a place once bearing the love of wisdom and cradle of democracy now infiltrated by extremists.

In The Fade is a challenging look at the cause-and-effect associated with hate crimes and global terrorism, half courtroom drama and part standard melodrama, all elevated by Diane kruger’s emotional maelstrom of a performance.

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About Nicholas Olsen

Nicholas Olsen is a journalist operating out of Toronto, Ontario. He has held a passion for movies ever since his father showed him Pulp Fiction back in the late 90s. Since then he's been devouring films whenever he can, using his background in writing to appreciate the arts on a critical level.

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