out of 4
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The Grey Zone
Review by Steve Rhodes
2½ stars out of 4
THE GREY ZONE, written and directed by Tim Blake Nelson, tells a horrific
true story set in a Nazi concentration camp. Its impressive images
of crematorium chimney fires and stacks of dead bodies are undermined
by the movie's presentation, which is way too stagy. The movie's
staccato dialog might work in the theater -- Nelson based the script
on his play -- but on the screen the acting becomes showy and not
quite convincing. Only when the characters shut up and camera pulls
back to let us witness the horror of the situation does the movie
adequately reach its intended emotional impact.
The frequently confusing story concerns Jewish workers at the camp
who are planning an uprising. Too much of the dialog is wasted on
petty squabbles among Jews of various nationalities as they argue
about when to revolt and what should be their goals -- destruction
of the facility, escape or both.
The uniformly strong casting includes David Arquette, Steve Buscemi,
Harvey Keitel, Natasha Lyonne and Mira Sorvino. But the real star
is cinematographer Russell Lee Fine who chillingly captures the feel
of the death camps. It's too bad that the script never lives up to the visuals.
THE GREY ZONE runs 1:48. It is rated R for "strong holocaust violence,
nudity and language" and would be acceptable for older teenagers.
Copyright © 2002 Steve Rhodes
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