7.5/10
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105 user 319 critic

Son of Saul (2015)

Saul fia (original title)
R | | Drama, War | 11 June 2015 (Hungary)
Trailer
1:45 | Trailer

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In the horror of 1944 Auschwitz, a prisoner forced to burn the corpses of his own people finds moral survival upon trying to salvage from the flames the body of a boy he takes for his son.

Director:

(as Nemes László)

Writers:

(as Nemes László),
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Popularity
4,947 ( 80)
Won 1 Oscar. Another 55 wins & 52 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
Abraham Warszawski
...
Oberkapo Biederman
...
Bearded Prisoner
Jerzy Walczak ...
Rabbi Frankel
Gergö Farkas ...
Saul's Son
Balázs Farkas ...
Saul's Son
Sándor Zsótér ...
...
Feigenbaum
Levente Orbán ...
Russian Prisoner
Kamil Dobrowolski ...
Mietek
...
Oberscharführer Voss
...
Oberscharführer Busch
Attila Fritz ...
Yankl (Young Prisoner)
...
Schlojme
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Storyline

Two days in the life of Saul Auslander, Hungarian prisoner working as a member of the Sonderkommando at one of the Auschwitz Crematoriums who, to bury the corpse of a boy he takes for his son, tries to carry out his impossible deed: salvage the body and find a rabbi to bury it. While the Sonderkommando is to be liquidated at any moment, Saul turns away of the living and their plans of rebellion to save the remains of a son he never took care of when he was still alive. Written by LaoKoon

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama | War

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for disturbing violent content, and some graphic nudity. | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Release Date:

11 June 2015 (Hungary)  »

Also Known As:

El hijo de Saúl  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Budget:

HUF 280,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$37,930 (USA) (18 December 2015)

Gross:

$1,776,814 (USA) (13 May 2016)
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The 107-minute film consists of 85 shots, none of which are longer than four minutes. See more »

Quotes

[to Saul]
Abraham Warszawski: You failed the living for the dead.
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Connections

References Come and See (1985) See more »

Soundtracks

Dream Faces
Written by William Marshall Hutchison
Performed by Elizabeth Spencer
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User Reviews

 
A bit disappointing to be honest
30 April 2016 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

This movie is not taken on lightly as an audience member.

To classify it as 'entertainment' would certainly be wrong because the subject matter is so uncompromisingly challenging.

I wanted to love it unreservedly for the bravery of its content but I'm afraid I was left a little cold.

The film is shot in square format (possibly 4:3) which is immediately disarming and unusual (the last time I saw this was in the very different Wes Anderson's Grand Budapest Hotel) and it's used effectively because it gives the viewer a voyeuristic look into the mayhem that is Dachau where the movie is set. It also helps the director from a budgetary point of view because it eschews the need for expensive wide shots.

The opening scenes are astonishingly harrowing as we see the "pieces" of Jewish bodies essentially processed through the factory of death with disturbing, off screen, dog barks, German soldier orders and mechanical noise. It's brutal and affecting in the extreme.

In some ways this is what I grotesquely wanted from the movie. I wanted to be horrified like no horror movie could achieve.

Forgive me for this but it didn't happen. Yes, the mood was grotesque thanks, in particular, to the extraordinary sound design, but on screen I felt it shirked its potential too much.

In the end this voyeuristic cinematography ultimately becomes both tiresome and limiting.

The fundamental weakness of the movie, in my opinion, is in the storyline. Frankly it's not that credible and doesn't stack up. The main protagonist (Saul) discovers his (illegitimate?) son as a gas chamber survivor and smuggles him out of the situation to seek a Rabbi to give him a proper Jewish burial.

This leads to a sequence of events that side stories with an undercover camp breakout in which he is also inexplicably involved.

Sorry, it's not credible.

And Géza Röhrig as the lead didn't really do it for me. And so the early wonderment of the movie, it really is very moving, starts to erode and gradually descends into incredibility.

I love what this movie stands for. I respect every iota of it.

I just didn't think it was particularly good overall.


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