Mark Reviews Movies

In the Fade


2 Stars (out of 4)

Director: Fatih Akin

Cast: Diane Kruger, Denis Moschitto, Numan Acar, Samia Muriel Chancrin, Johannes Krisch, Ulrich Tukur, Ulrich Brandhoff, Hanna Hilsdorf

MPAA Rating: R (for some disturbing images, drug use, and language including sexual references)

Running Time: 1:46

Release Date: 12/27/17 (limited)

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Capsule review by Mark Dujsik | December 26, 2017

Director Fatih Akin and Hark Bohm's screenplay for In the Fade is cleanly divided into three acts. Each one explores the effects of a terrorist bombing with a distinct thematic thread: grief, justice, and revenge.

The first act/theme is bolstered by Diane Kruger's impressive performance as the wife and mother of the bombing's victims. The second takes a clinical, procedural look at the resulting trial. The third act is troubling, not only because it finds the most generic climax to this tale but also because it implies irksome comparisons to the act of violence that started the story in the first place.

The central plot follows Kruger's Katja, who married Nuri (Numan Acar) when he was in prison on drug charges and started a family with him after his release. Nuri and the couple's young son are killed in a bomb attack, seemingly perpetrated by a pair of neo-Nazis.

One constant thread here is the way the police, during the investigation, and the attorney of two accused murderers, during the trial, try to pass the blame on Nuri in some way: It had to be a retaliatory action against the man, who must have become involved in his old ways. The prejudice on display here doesn't stop with the alleged killers (The movie errs on the side of caution by not giving the killers a chance to voice their twisted ideology, although that caution might undermine the impact of the movie's attack on race-based hatred).

The main thread is a step-by-step decrease in the humanity on display. The first act is fully invested in Katja's grief. The second becomes a courtroom drama based solely on facts and often incomplete evidence. The point of In the Fade, it seems, is how both of these—grief and a seemingly flawed legal system—transform Katja into someone who has abandoned her own humanity. It's a cynical and exploitative conclusion, devoid of any meaningful statement.

Copyright © 2017 by Mark Dujsik. All rights reserved.

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