Monday, February 11, 2013


I'm so sick of Holocaust movies, I can't tell you. "Schindler's List" and the seminal documentaries "Shoah" and "The Sorrow and the Pity" have set the bar so high, a filmmaker really has to bring something new and exciting to interest me. For every gem such as "Downfall" that manages to find a fresh and fascinating perspective, we get ten dramatically inert dramas like "In Darkness" or, sometimes, the contemptible manipulation of a piece of trash such as "The Boy in the Striped Pajamas." I'm tired of filmmakers using the Holocaust to give thrust and impact to otherwise lacking stories.

Separate and apart from that, however, "Lore" is a bore. More than a bore, it's a thoroughly unpleasant film about a thoroughly unpleasant girl, the eldest of five siblings left behind by their Nazi-officer father and true-believer mother, who are imprisoned after they lose they war. The children are forced to fend for themselves and wend their way through the Black Forest to their grandmother's house in Hamburg, a journey that lasts two hours of running time but feels endless, in which someone seems to be waiting for them, posed, in every abandoned house they come across. As with "Side Effects," not one moment feels organic.

"Lore" is ugly to look at and ugly to listen to. (Note to all aspiring filmmakers: If you're debating whether to have a baby scream and cry through three-quarters of your picture, don't.) The children encounter a Jewish young man, for whom Lore's initial feelings of revulsion and antipathy give way to sexual attraction (stop me if you've heard this one before) and gratitude when (again, stop me) he ends up saving their lives at a makeshift American checkpoint. When "Lore" finally, abruptly, ended, the steady trickle of walk-outs became a stampede to the exits.

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