Friday, October 27, 2017

Naked Among Wolves (2015) - Foreign Film Friday

Number Rolled: 56
Movie Name/Year: Naked Among Wolves (2015)
Tagline: None
Genre: Drama, History, War
Length: 101 minutes
Rating: NR
Production Companies: UFA Fiction
Producer: Benjamin Benedict, Jana Brandt, Tim Greve, Nico Hofmann, Verena Monben, Korinna Roters, Christine Strobl, Sebastian Werninger
Director: Philipp Kadelbach
Writer: Bruno Apitz, Stefan Kolditz
Actors: Florian Stetter, Peter Schneider, Sylvester Groth, Sabin Tambrea, Robert Gallinowski, Rainer Bock, Rafael Stachowiak, Thorsten Merten, Torsten Michaelis, Robert Mika, Matthias Bundschuh, Ulrich Brandhoff, Torsten Ranft, Andreas Lust, Marko Mandic, Leonard Carow, Janusz Cichocki, Paula Hartmann, Jens Harzer, Max Hegewald, Robert Hunger-Buhler, David Sir, Vojta Vomacka, Tim Williams
Stunts: Jan Arnost, Jan Blahak, Marek Brichcin, Matous Brichcin, Robert Lahoda, Antje Rau, Tomas Rydval, Ivo Zubaty

Blurb from Netflix: When an orphan boy is smuggled into a concentration camp, he is protected by the prisoners, but the camp’s Nazi guards soon learn of his presence.

Selina’s Point of View:
I’m a little shaky at the moment.

From the very moment this film started playing, I knew what I was in for. It was meant to be a shocking and honest portrayal of the events that took place in one of the concentration camps. Even less truthful films about the holocaust can be difficult to watch, but this one was like a stab in the chest.

Naked Among Wolves was absolutely heartbreaking. In fact, the last film I can think of that captured the feel of the holocaust anywhere near the level this one did was Escape from Sobibor (1987).

I can’t imagine how difficult it was to film this.

We’ve discussed the mental toll acting out vicious scenes can take on the actors. Almost everyone knows the tales of how Alfred Hitchcock (Psycho, Vertigo, Rear Window) treated Tippi Hedren (Tribute, Dead Write, The Bold and the Beautiful) on the set of The Birds (1963) – or how Stanley Kubrick (Spartacus, A Clockwork Orange, Eyes Wide Shut) treated Shelley Duvall (Changing Habits, Home Fries, The Portrait of a Lady) on the set of The Shining (1980).

The directors, in both instances claimed to make their choices in order to get the most honest performances from their actors.

In films like those, I imagine a director might need an alternate method of getting the most heartbreaking reaction from someone – but this was a film based on real life. I’m guessing that just knowing the events they were portraying were actually very close to real life, was all the motivation these actors needed.

Everything was written and acted so well that I can’t imagine a situation where someone wouldn’t be feeling every emotion they were meant to. Even the subtitles seemed to disappear for me, and I forgot I wasn’t just hearing English.

This was a great, if extremely troubling film. It was supposed to be troubling, though… and that counts as an incredible success.

Cat’s Point of View:
The dice have been giving us a lot of war movies lately. Seriously, what’s up with that?

Thinking of this film brings to mind so much that I have difficulty knowing where to start.

One thing’s for sure – I felt every moment of the 101 minutes of run-time. Usually, when I’m mentioning that it’s because I’m bored. That was decidedly not the case this time. It took a little bit to get invested; but once this movie had me in its grip, it didn’t let go. I spent a good chunk of the time with my heart in my throat worrying for the plight of the characters. I admit I checked the progress bar a few times –but only to see how much longer I might have to wait to learn what their fate would be.

The casting here was brilliant. I found the actors relatable in their roles, but the standout for me was the little boy. Oh, good lord how precious! It’s easy to see how he melted hearts (and inspired my tears). I really don’t know how child actors fare in Germany in comparison to the curse that seems to follow those stateside; but I know that this little dude is a leading man in the making. It really came across to me that he was emoting and not just following cues.

I have a decided love-hate relationship with this movie. It was well made, and was a stirring glimpse into history and highlighting events at a place you don’t hear as much about as opposed to Auschwitz. On the other hand, it gave me feels about some SS characters that I wasn’t comfortable with.

I’d actually recommend this movie in a heartbeat for anyone who enjoys the war-movie genre – especially from more of the drama angle instead of pitched battle footage.

Speech Available: French, German, Polish
Subtitles Available: English, French, Polish

Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score – None
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score – None
Metascore - None
Metacritic User Score – None
IMDB Score – 7.2/10

Trust the Dice: Selina’s Rating5/5
Trust the Dice: Cat’s Rating4/5

Trust-the-Dice’s Parental Advisory Rating: R

P.S. There are some historical recordings inserted into the film.
P.S.2. This film is a remake.

Movie Trailer:

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