Movie Review: SON OF SAUL (2015, Hungary)

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son_of_saul_posterSON OF SAUL (Hungary 2015) ***

Directed by Laszlo Nemes

Review by Gilbert Seah

SON OF SAUL, this year’s Cannes Grand Jury Prize Winner might not be the film for everyone. Lazlo Neme’s film has no narrative, is minimal in structure and is difficult to follow in terms of logic or story. But still, it is a gruesome watch.

Nemes’ film, with cinematographer Matyas Erdely, like the Dardennes Brothers filming with a hand held camera about head level on the side of the protagonist following him using a protagonist’s-eye view makes all the action feel more real.

The protagonist is part of a squad in a Holocaust concentration camp with the duty of herding in the prisoners for gassing and then cleaning up. As the titles indicate, they too will normally have their turn (being gassed) after a few weeks. The hero sees a boy that survives the gassing but consequently killed.

He takes it upon himself to find a Rabbi to say the prayers for the boy at all costs. This is where the film fails in terms of credibility. He is able to find a Rabbi, not get caught, find all the right connections and keeps the boy’s body – all a bit too much to believe.

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