Review by Lucia Santiago Dantés.
The German bid for the Oscars 2016 opened this weekend in Vancouver and across Canada.
The story develops in Frankfurt almost two decades after WWII and the Nuremberg trials, and although the main character Johann Radian portrayed by Alexander Fehling is fictional, it is based on true facts and real characters.
It’s 1958 and young germans as incredible as it may sound, don’t know (or pretend not to know) about the Holocaust. Same with the people at the government and oficial institutions, either for ignorance or just to cover each other backs, everybody live as if Nazism never even existed.. how is this possible? says appalled Journalist Thomas Gnielka (André Szymanski) after finding out a former Auschwitz guard is now living a placid life as a school teacher. Johann Radmann (Alexander Fehling) is a young prosecutor at the beginning of his career. He is a righteous soul but he didn’t know about the concentration camps and what really happened there. after Thomas uproar he steps up and start investigating the Holocaust and their perpetrators who worked at the Auschwitz concentration camp. Leading him to bigger crusade after finding out 8,000 people worked at the concentration camp and they’re all accountable for the crimes of thousands who died there.
(Read the full synopsis here)
The film visually speaking, resembles the TV series “Mad Men” same carefully chosen wardrobe, locations and production design. The story although is not centered on the holocaust, it is more about the post war era, when the german nation is looking to the future, but living in denial won’t do for the Holocaust people. Being said that, Labyrinth of Lies doesn’t do justice to all what happened and falls short on this moral issue. Even with the trials and tribulations of Johann Radmann when he finds out his own father was part of the Nazi regime.
I understand that this movie is not about the holocaust but about a nation who tried to focus too much on the future trying to hide a very dark past, but the film at times feels awkward as there is no sense of justice, for example when Radmann finds out about some high rank nazis are beyond reach, like the infamous Josef Mengele, who was not only able to escape to Brazil but freely travel back and fort to Germany.
Labyrinth of Lies is a film that makes you think about an entire nation conveniently in denial but most of all about moral issues and conflicts for the next generation.