Samstag, 16. Dezember 2017


Title: In the Fade (orig.: Aus dem Nichts)
Running Time: 106 min
Director: Fatih Akin
Writer: Fatih Akin, Hark Bohm
Starring: Diane Kruger, Denis Moschitto, Numan Acar, Samia Muriel Chancrin, Johannes Krisch, Hanna Hilsdorf, Ulrich Brandhoff

Fatih Akin is one of the most renowned directors in Germany. The award-winning film maker of Turkish parentage is known for being the cinematic voice of people with a migration background as he has often put their reality of life on screen. Thus, it comes to no surprise that a series of murders of nine immigrants committed by the far-right German terrorist group NSU (National Socialist Underground) inspired the story of his latest project. Especially when you take into consideration that the investigation and trial let to the conclusion that the NSU's network spans into government authorities.
"In the Fade" is a fantastic blend of personal drama, trial film and revenge thriller. It tells the story of Katja Sekerci whose Kurdish husband and son are killed in a racially motivated bombing. Akin starts his story with Katja and Nuri marrying... in prison. It's somewhat cute, but first and foremost a clear statement by the director. You should empathize with these victims, even if you don't sympathize with them. Nobody deserves this. The protagonist is imperfect and Akin refuses to manipulate the audiences through dramatic music cues or other similar cinematic tricks. As a result the movie has a coldness to it at points. This, as well as the fact that this is a rather quietly told film, add to its somber atmosphere.
But Akin's directorial voice is loud and clear. Because he has perfectly internalized the famous rule "Show, don't tell".  His images hold more explanatory power than any piece of dialogue could. Katja crying her lungs out in the brightly colored bed in her deceased son's bedroom, says everything about the deepness of her mourning in a single frame. Her getting a tattoo in an incredibly painful spot without even flinching, expresses her emotional numbness better than any variation of the phrase "I feel so empty." would. A courtroom with Katja sitting in the background, fighting the urge to burst into tears while a medical specialist quotes the autopsy report with brittle professional detachment, chokes you up. And then there is a particular tracking shot through a bathroom that will chill you to the bone. It is excellent craftsmanship.
Of course, leading lady Diane Kruger is the pivotal element in all of these shots. While I have found her acting a little superficial in the past, she is a revelation in this movie. Displaying unbridled raw emotions and embracing her characters flaws, she gives one of the strongest and authentic performances of this year, as well as the best of her career. She and Akin are a fantastic pairing.
However, the film is not exempt from possible criticism. If you were looking for a nuanced exploration of the NSU's structure and a differentiated look at their place within the system of government, you'll come away empty-handed. Akin has no interest in making this a film with documentary qualities. Nor does he want to provide moral guidance. It seems that primarily he wanted to vent his anger and express how infuriating such a mindless and hateful act of violence is. In that sense, it is not a rationally designed movie, but one driven by emotion. As a result, one could argue that in the third act, the film undercuts its own message. But it is likely that Akin wants to present chaos rather than order, and thus, doesn't care for making sense of it all. To show the senselessness of such an atrocity is the message itself.
So even though "In the Fade" is not the investigative movie some had hoped for, it is not one bit less powerful. On the contrary, it is one of the most thrilling films of the year that will captivate you from its first minute to the last. This ingeniously constructed piece of cinema surely leaves an impression and will stick with you long after you've left the theater. A movie that is most definitely worth your time and money.

For Fans Of:
Taxi Driver (1976)
Prisoners (2013)
Léon: The Professional (1994)
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2009)
Head On (2004) [orig.: Gegen die Wand]

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