Review

  • 'Son of Saul' started off with a refreshing burst, but barely a quarter in, it meanders on its own overly self-conscious showiness. It becomes painfully obvious that there's a director and production crew behind it trying too hard to drive the impact and be different, resulting in a showy look-at-me stilted performances from its actors and even the set screams "wow aren't we just realistic and meticulous in our details", like a bratty girl twirling her hula-hoop in a vigorously attention seeking manner.

    The core motivation of Saul in trying to get 'a random son' buried is …… nada. The entire essence of this movie pivots on this core 'motivation'. Without it, there is only the mundane uninteresting idiosyncrasy of Saul - drifting in the sea of all the other equally mundane idiosyncrasies, all of which are equally uninteresting.

    The actors (both the clothed and the naked) are way too healthy and lackadaisically bland in their appearances and attitudes, lacking any anguished sense of desperation and despair. As you watch them and the overly-crafted sets, you can't help but be 'constantly aware' that you are watching actors and extras and movie sets going about their motions as directed.

    Even the constant background chattering sounds consciously deliberate and staged. And the Nazi officers - another bunch of one-dimensional caricatured bullies … same cartoonish-cardboard ones you find in WWII comedies, action genres, dramas, you name it.

    Hence, even after over an hour into the movie, there is no immersion of oneself into the proceedings of the plot nor in the characters.

    The most realistic actors on set are the ones playing the dead bodies, but even then their positioning and the manner in which they are piled and dragged around …. overly choreographed.

    Why did it win the Oscar Best Foreign award? Absolutely no idea - just another no-sense award from Hollywood. Probably it gives the voters a misplaced sense of politically-correct 'artsiness'.

    'Son of Saul' has become an obligatory-must-watch-because-its-won-these-bunch-of-awards. A good compelling movie it is NOT. Vain-glorious, and does not impress beyond its first 5 mins of fame.