The Zone Of Interest: The BRWC Review

The Zone Of Interest: The BRWC Review

The Zone of Interest is absolutely chilling but compelling. Glazer has delivered a masterpiece and a conversation starter all in one. At the heart of this film is the central question: what’s more evil – the act of killing or pretending the killing isn’t happening?

The Zone of Interest’s sole focus is the family life of Auschwitz commander Rudolf Hoss and his wife Hedwig as they raise their family in the literal shadow of the concentration camp. Christian Friedel and Sandra Huller give outstanding performances as the commandant, Rudolf and wife, Hedwig. The Zone of Interest is disconcerting from before the opening frame as the music starts and the audience is plunged into darkness only for the shock to the eyes of colour and an idyllic family scene of a picnic by the river to be shown on screen.

The soundscape by Johnnie Burn is incredible and adds to the chilling effect as we watch the banality of evil. The everyday that most of us have experienced except never in the shadow of a concentration camp. Looslely Inspired by the book of the same name by Martin Amis, the script and direction by Glazer takes this to a whole different level.

The Zone of Interest is a masterclass on how to talk about terror without showing any images of the terror and it makes the audience feel terrified. We never see the classic images of transportation or lines of Jewish people in the concentration camp. Instead Glazer keeps his focus on his primary subject the Hoss family, and shows the clothes and other items stolen from the victims of the concentration camp being given out by Hoss’s wife to her friends and house staff. In another scene, we see a prisoner washing blood of Hoss’s boots.

It’s hard to articulate one’s thoughts on the film. It is absolutely necessary viewing. The Zone of Interest is even more chilling considering the current world events. The line between evil and decency is paper thin. Friedel’s Hoss is shown as a family man who just goes to work to do his job. Yet, watching the film it feels as if his wife, Hedwig, is the more evil of the two, now that she has the house and garden of her dreams she doesn’t care about the impact on anyone. She wants to stay and the fact that her former neighbours are being exterminated in the concentration camp next door is of little consequence. Except his job is the most heinous and evil things ever to happen in the 20th century.

The Zone of Interest will be released in cinemas across the UK on Friday 2 February.

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