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Reviews & Ratings for
Son of Saul More at IMDbPro »Saul fia (original title)

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Important documentary to remind

Author: Luigi Di Pilla from Riehen, Switzerland
11 December 2016

This movie is for an audience who can digest to watch cruel and horror scenes. Otherwise this is not for you. There is not great emotion but full of moments of pain and cries. It was interesting to see how the camera captured the main characters very fluid. The running time is not too long and just perfect. Saul delivered a respectable performance and I am curious to see him in other future roles. This film works more on a documentary level about the Jewish holocaust in the Nazi concentration camps than a Second World War movie. It should remind all the war crimes in our history of humanity. God bless all the people murdered by the Nazi. 6/10.

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If they had actually filmed back then ...

Author: kosmasp
11 November 2016

This movie is very devastating. Of course, when it comes to the Holocaust everything is devastating to watch. But the way this was created, with one character the camera follows around everywhere, this will drain almost everything out of the viewer. The feeling is real, the emotion is as real as it gets and it could not be more in your face if it went up someones nose.

Of course that is not necessary, there are far more grueling things (even if not explicit put on the screen, because they happen outside the frame) that will be there for us to witness. Schindlers List was more personal in terms of following someone who was trying to save people. Here you have someone who is just trying to survive. And he has his hands full with that "task" as you will be able to see. It may be without color, but that just enhances the viewing and the cruelness depicted. I can't imagine anyone being left untouched by this. Unless you don't like the way it is filmed (you could compare it to the "Found Footage" style, but would do this movie a big disservice to put it even near that area)

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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

I didn't feel the pain

Author: Richard Alex Jenkins from Brazil
26 December 2016

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I had to rack my brains on this 6/10 rating - I honestly didn't know where to rank the film. It was good enough not to be bad, if you know what I mean? The camera-work cheapened the entire film for me. Perhaps it was because of lack of financial budget, but filming everything in POV and blurring the background meant that we didn't get treated to a proper feature film and had to mostly use our imaginations for what was going on in the background. Frankly, I found it quite tiresome. It reminded me a little bit of a Lars von Trier film in its sense of hopelessness. bit without the spiky twist.

I'm sorry my negative attitude towards this film - it wasn't awful at all, but the 'plot' wasn't interesting enough to hold an entire film. As an onlooker, I could sense right at the beginning that the boy wasn't Saul's real son, through his lack of reaction to the suffocation scene, so I had to work out for myself that Saul was obviously totally desensitised and quite deranged.

Again, I have to admit how sorry I am for wanting more entertainment from this film, and not getting it. I feel a huge compassion for all the people involved in the real-life horror of concentration camp Nazi Germany, especially as a father myself and the thought of losing my own family in this way, but this still doesn't make the film an entertaining viewing experience, even for the sick kicks I was looking for.

I need something more visual and spectacular I'm afraid, like Schindler's List or The Pianist.

And perhaps this film deserves a second or third viewing to fully appreciate its horrors, but do you really want to watch it again?

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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Grim, harrowing depiction of life in the Nazi death camps

Author: Sleeper Service from North West UK
23 August 2016

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

The main story here concerns the efforts of one man to give a small child the respect and burial he deserves after a brutal death at the hands of the Nazi regime. Right from the very beginning the focus is on Saul with the background being out of focus and the soundtrack allowing us to imagine that we are Saul and experiencing what he would be experiencing. The latest arrival of prisoners are herded towards the showers by their own and with the promise of food and work to prevent mass panic. The only way to survive for a short time is to do the bidding of the Nazi regime. The outcome is inevitable. The young boy (barely) survives the gas chamber, is mercilessly killed and so the story develops as Saul attempts to find a willing rabbi, attempts to get information of the horror to the outside world and attempts to survive long enough to try and live what life he has left with some purpose. A dark chapter in the history of mankind and although the cruelty and horror of the Nazi death camps is not the main theme of the film, it's the theme that will get to you the most. Superbly acted and filmed, Son of Saul will have an impact on you. Your morals and ethics will be examined when you watch this masterpiece. One of the, if not the most, deserving of films to be recognized and awarded by its peers.

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2 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

A masterpiece that goes deep into the horrors of the Holocaust / A pioneer cinematography and a breathtaking leading performance

Author: Antonia Tejeda Barros from Spain
27 August 2016

Saul fia is a masterpiece that goes deep into the horrors of the Holocaust. Director László Nemes makes a feature film debut that is spectacular. The camera is astonishing and the performance of Géza Röhrig is breathtaking. Without showing much, we can hear the screams of all of the innocent men, women and children who were massacred and gassed by the Nazi Germans & Austrians. The macabre task of the Sonderkommando is brilliantly depicted in this film.

I confess that I cried the first 15 minutes of the movie. Saul fia is really hard to watch, but it is a crucial work of art for this cybernetic and superficial century where the Holocaust seems already out of fashion. The film shows in an unorthodox way the macabre gassing described by the few testimonies of the few Auschwitz Sonderkommando who survived the war (Shlomo Venezia, a Jewish Greek Sonderkommando, prisoner number 182727: Sonderkommando. Dans l'enfer des chambres à gaz; Filip Müller, a Jewish Slovak Sonderkommando, prisoner number 29236: Sonderbehandlung. Drei Jahre in der Krematorien und Gaskammern von Auschwitz; and the shocking drawings by David Olère, a Jewish Polish Sonderkommando). Dario Gabbai, prisoner number 182568, Shlomo Venezia's cousin and one of the last remaining Sonderkommando saw Saul fia and praised the film.

In my opinion Saul fia should have been nominated in all the categories and should have won ALL the Oscars (Best Movie, Best Director, Best Cinematography and Best Actor in a Leading Role). Saul fia triumphed at the Cannes Festival and got the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film of the Year.

Saul fia is a MASTERPIECE with capital letters. Something for never forgetting what Germany & Austria did and what they never paid for. The film is in Hungarian, Polish, Yiddish, German, Russian, French, Greek, Slovak & Hebrew, and it depicts brilliantly the chaos of languages (the Tower of Babel) of the Nazi extermination & concentration camps.

A must see. Definitely, the best movie of 2015, and, in my opinion, the best movie about the Holocaust ever made.

The best: the cinematography (Mátyás Erdély), absolutely pioneer, the breathtaking performance by Géza Röhrig, and the music (László Melis).

The worst: nothing.

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6 out of 12 people found the following review useful:

Outstanding film about concentration camps and the terrifying assignment carried out by a SonderKommando

Author: ma-cortes from Santander Spain
24 January 2016

Impressive movie about concentration camp with realist setting , top-notch acting and evocative cinematography in 35 mm . The film was met with wide critical acclaim after its world premiere and has subsequently been submitted as Hungary's official entry for Best Foreign Language Film at the Academy Awards . This excellent movie deals with the horror of 1944 in Auschwitz , the infamous extermination center , capturing an insightful portrait of hell and the spiritual experience and focusing the story of a man wanting to bury his assumed son . Thus , when the incoming transports , mostly Jews , SS soldiers made instant decisions , those who were fit to labors were sent into the camp , others including the children , were dispatched immediately to the gas chambers where approximately one-quarter million Jews were executed . There a prisoner , a ¨Sonderkommando¨ is forced to burn the corpses of his own people , then he finds moral survival upon attempting to save from the flames the body of a boy he takes for his son , and he subsequently looks for a Jewish Rabí . At the end takes place a rebellion and a breathtaking , exciting getaway .

This terrible picture is well set in Auschwitz , it was a painful extermination camp of killing of Jews including children . We see horrors , murders , massacres against the prisoners but from a particular sight point , the starring : Geza Rohrig , who gives a very good acting with his subjective vision . Along with Geza , there appears a lot of fine but unknown Hungarian actors such as Levente Monar, Urs Rechn, Tood Charmont, Sándor Zsotér, Marcin Czarnik, and Jerzy Walczak , all of them display magnificent performances ; including their realistic mélange of Hungarian, German and Yiddish dialogue . Atmospheric cinematography by Mátyás Erdély , the outside scenes were shot only with natural light , it is fully aware of the quality of light , relying on natural light for outdoors . This Hungarian Cannes prize-winner that won a Golden Globe in the "Best Foreign Language Film" category in 2016 and critically heralded Holocaust film began what is likely to be a multi-month run , calibrated in hopes of winning the Foreign Language Academy Award as well as to maximize grossing potent . It is a dark and serious flick , a splendid movie about the brutal existence at concentration camp and subsequent breakout from horrible place . The picture is based on real events , as Auschwitz along with Sobibór , Chelmno , Belzec and Treblinka were five large death camps in the Lublin district of Poland transformed into extermination centers to implement the policy of genocide thought at the Wannsee Conference . All the concentration camps were under the command of SS Odilo Globocnick . There was some minor industrial activity linked to the war effort but the main work was the execution of inmates . Victims were brought to the camp in unventilated transports , and all but a handful were gassed after arrival , the gas chambers could accommodate hundred prisoners at one time , most of their corpses were burned in open pits .

Filmmaker Laszlo Nemes , his debut feature , avoids both , melodrama and violence , giving a thought-provoking as well as intense description about the hard existence in Auschwitz . Director László Nemes stated on cinematic inspirations : ¨Come and see¨ (1985) by Elem Klimov was a great source of inspiration for me ; however the film bears remarkable resemblance to ¨The grey zone¨ (201) by Tim Blake Nelson . Nemes took testimony from present witnesses , he made a real investigation labour and had particular help of prestigious historians as Gideon Grief , Philippe Mesnard and Zoltan Vagi . Nemes wanted to convey something that goes against the perception through films, that it is a mixture of organisation and chaos . Lazsló called Nobel prize-winning Hungarian writer and concentration camp survivor Imre Kertész an inspiration to make this film . He took records from known documentary ¨Shoa¨ by Claudie Lanzmann , especially the actual testimony from Abraham Bomba , as well as of the ¨Memorial of Shoa¨ , with a book titled ¨Voices under the ashes¨ also titled ¨The writings of Auschwitz¨ .

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0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

An extraordinary film

Author: rodrig58
15 October 2017

It made me think of "Schindler's List"(1993) but this "Son of Saul"(2015) is different. It's as good as Spielberg's film, maybe even better. Love for your own child, even dead, makes you do unusual things, to defy death that awaits for you anyway, inside or off the concentration camp. A film excellently played, filmed, directed.

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0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Son Of Saul - Unsettling, Difficult and Exhausting WW11 Holocaust Visitation

Author: krocheav from Australia
15 September 2017

It's not easy to write a critique for a movie of this type – on one hand, it's a brave attempt to portray the almost unbelievable of horrors that were perpetuated by a regime - claiming to be superior in all the arts - putting themselves above any other race - a race setting themselves up to be the most powerful nation on earth. Perhaps, it was this very pomposity that assured them of an ultimate fall from grace (as with the Romans).

This movie however, is approached in such a claustrophobic photographic manner - with a tendency to imitate Kubrick. As with Kubrick's insistence on having overlong stylistic shots, where a camera would endlessly follow behind his subject in an attempt to pad out scenes with limited content. This technique when overused ultimately stretches the interest to snapping point. When will new movie makers stop imitating and form their own style - does everyone have to be the new Kubrick? The same technique eventually killed Kubrick's later works as he lost focus on his stories (that got weaker) to concentrate on their superficial 'style'.

Hungarian writer/director Laszlo Nemes, has a penchant for horror and certainly crammed much of this into his nightmarish vision of life as an inmate, working in a Nazi death camp - hideously forced to witness and assist with the repugnant gassing murders of his own people. Maybe it would have been far more effective had he just got on with telling his shocking story in a time frame that held the audience's attention. As is, 'Saul' leaves the viewer exhausted, wanting to fast forward to a resolve and escape the unrelenting photographic style. Much of the story is good but treated in an inhibiting way, making it a questionable award winner - with 1hr 47mins being far too long for the restrictive treatment of its subject. Low budget movie makers use this hand-held camera technique because it's cheap but there's still a lot to be said for some involving conventional sweep!

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0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Son of Saul

Author: Jackson Booth-Millard from United Kingdom
23 January 2017

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I set myself a target every year to watch every single film that wins and gets nominated at the Oscars, I had watched the other four nominees in the Foreign Language category, I saved this Hungarian film, the winner, until last. Basically set during the Second World War, Hungarian-Jewish Saul Ausländer (Géza Röhrig) is a prisoner in the Nazi extermination camp at Auschwitz, he a member of Sonderkommando, forced under pain of death to aid with the disposal of gas chamber victims. Saul and the other members know that the prisoners they are enclosing in showers are going to their deaths, the members' work consists of disinfecting the gas chamber after use, going through victims' personal possessions to find valuable items, and disposing of the ashes after the bodies have been burned. One of these gassings however sees Saul pulling out the body of a boy he is convinced is his son, the Germans want to perform an autopsy on the body, but Saul manages to steal the body and avoid this happening. Saul wants to give his son's corpse a proper Jewish burial, he is looking for a Jewish rabbi to preside over the burial, he tells other worker prisoners what he is doing in the hope that they will assist him. Saul finds out that many of the worker prisoners are trying to smuggle out information about the atrocities of the camp to show the world, in order to begin an uprising against their captors. The other Sonderkommando members see their task as more important, and there are many moments when Saul may get stalled or caught, including in the indoor and outdoor crowds of other prisoners, but then there comes a point when the usefulness of the working prisoners for the captors may be coming to an end. A riot breaks out, S-S guards are attacked and the rebellion starts, Saul and a group of prisoners are able to escape, he carries the body of his boy, but he is forced to let it go in the current of the river. In the end Saul and the prisoners find a shed in the forest, they rest to discuss a plan to join the Polish resistance, Saul notices a young peasant boy outside, they smile at each other, the boy runs away and guards pass him, in the direction of the shed, gunfire echoes through the woods and the boy walks away. Also starring Levente Molnár as Abraham Warszawski, Urs Rechn as Oberkapo Biederman, Jerzy Walczak as Rabbi Frankel, Sándor Zsótér as Dr. Miklos Nyiszli, Marcin Czarnik as Feigenbaum, and twins Gergö and Balázs Farkas as Saul's Son. It has been seventy years since the events of the Holocaust, Life Is Beautiful and The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas are examples of films that have successful made a fictional but realistic story using a concentration camp, this film proves that there is still room for a new film about this subject. It is simply watching the life of a working prisoner of Auschwitz over a two day period, but what makes this film really clever is that we only see what the character sees, the shocking exterminations and hundreds of people confined and suffering seen from the point of view of the lead character is much more powerful, it is intense and harrowing, but a respectful and magnificent wartime drama. It won the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film of the Year, it won the BAFTA for Best Film not in the English Language, and it won the Golden Globe for Best Motion Picture - Foreign Language. Very good!

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0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

a Sonderkommando looks to right a wrong

Author: Lee Eisenberg ([email protected]) from Portland, Oregon, USA
3 January 2017

I had heard loosely of Sonderkommandos before watching László Nemes's "Saul fia" ("Son of Saul" in English), but the movie takes an unusual approach to it. This is one of the only movies that I've seen in which almost all the focus is literally on one person, with the background blurred. This serves to emphasize the desperation of the protagonist, a Sonderkommando in 1944 Auschwitz, who wishes to give his son a proper burial. Indeed, we see murdered bodies, as well as the atrocities getting committed by the Nazis, but Saul himself is essentially the window into this horrible setting.

It's an outstanding movie in every way. While much of the movie may seem slow, it's like this so that the characters can develop. It grows especially intense during the final fifteen to twenty minutes. But the truth is that the whole movie is excellent. It deserved the awards that it won.

Another Hungarian movie dealing with the experience of the Jews during this period is 1983's "Jób lázadása" ("The Revolt of Job" in English), about a Hungarian boy adopted by a Jewish couple.

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