14 December 2013 | bob the moo
More unsettling and interesting than it is successful (SPOILERS)
This film's tagline makes it sound like a dark comedy and the wonderfully Saul Bass-esque credit sequence makes it feel like it will be lighter or more stylish than is reality. This thought that it was a dark comedy continues as the quiet one of the four people puts on a record of Hitler speaking in order to demonstrate how his stereo system works. It is a great moment and one that I found unsettling, dark and quite funny. From here though the tone changes and not in a way that is totally successful. The plot then sees Miles leaving the dinner party as he cannot deal with the discussions that the Holocaust may not have really happened. He then drops his girlfriend off and returns home to his wife, doubting himself and looking for security.
As the plot summary I just wrote suggests, there is a lot of interest in the film, not least of which is the lead character of Miles. He is the strongest and most reliable of the group for the majority of the film and we are with him as he takes a stand and leaves. However this changes as really what he is doing is being made to feel uncomfortable and he reacts to that by running to where he is safe – at home with his wife. His treatment of her and his character is the real interest as he centers himself on his wife when he needs her but, once the memory of this rather unsettling night passes, he will drift from her again without her knowing. I guess by contrast David is a more reliable partner as he is open about who he is, even if most people would disagree with him. To me this is the point but the problem is that this point is lost because with such a hot-button topic, the focus will always be on what is being said about the Holocaust, not about Miles as a person.
So although I take away this from it, I really have to force myself not to think that the film is somehow defending Holocaust deniers. I hope it is not doing this and I do not think this is the point, but by using that topic to trigger Miles' actions, the film cannot help but see the focus shifted. Delivery wise the film has a nicely unsettling tone but it is a bit odd to mix the cool credits with the initially comic situation with a deeper character piece – again it feels a bit uneven and what it is trying to do is a little lost. Worth a look but it is not a particularly successful film even if it will leave you with things to think about.