Review: Son of Saul

You had one job, Saul...


Saul Ausländer ( Géza Röhrig) is held prisoner at Auschwitz and is working as a member of the Sonderkommando. He helps clean up the bodies that go into the gas chambers. When he comes across a boy who he thinks is his son from a previous relationship, Saul ignores his part in a plot with the other kommandos to escape and tries to find a Rabbi to properly bury the boy.

This film is bleak, though being a Holocaust film that's not surprising. What did surprise me was how interesting the premise of the story was to me and how frustrated I felt watching it play out. It's ambiguous on whether or not this is actually Saul's son. I don't believe it is, which makes his focus on burying him even more difficult to watch as he consistently messes up the plan that the other kommandos put in place. It's sad to see them in this situation and to see their means to escape being lost with each passing mistake Saul makes.

Like the recent film Mommy, this is shot with a 1.375:1 aspect ratio. We rarely follow anyone but Saul and we only see what he sees. I think this was a great choice as it makes the film feel claustrophobic. The people in the camps were living on top of each other as it is, and the way this is shot really magnifies that with how close everything is. 

I enjoyed the acting very much and it was extremely well shot, but this is definitely a movie I wouldn't rush out to see again.

Recommended: Yes/No. It's hard to recommend a film like this. On one hand, see it as it's going to win an Oscar, but on the other, it's not the strongest film out there at the moment. 

Grade: C+

Memorable Quote: "You have no son." - Abraham (Levente Molnár)

10 comments:

  1. Couldn't have put it better myself. I find films like this really hard to review because it's important, significant and a technical marvel - but I'm never going to watch it again. It's too much. It really hits you hard (the acting is great), but like I said - not going to settle in for a cosy night on the sofa with Son of Saul.

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    1. Exactly. I will probably never watch this one again. It's so hard to say "yes, I recommend this" to films I feel that way about.

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    1. I haven't seen any of the other nominees in that category, but since this film is getting the most attention, I think it has the best chances based on that.

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  3. I have the possibily to see Son of Saul next week. It sounds a bit grim though. I'll probably see it because it's the foreign film frontrunner at the oscars.

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    1. Right? That's worth it to see for that reason. That's why I went too, I never get to see the foreign films before the Oscars. But yes, it's bleak as hell.

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  4. I expect I'll love this, but maybe not. I'm hoping to see it next week. :/

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    1. It was hard for me to love because I found Saul incredibly selfish when I think I should've been sympathizing him more.

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  5. Been looking forward to seeing this for a long time. But I suspect I'll have to wait till it hits streaming

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