The Zone of Interest Review

The Zone of Interest

Jonathan Glazer creates a Nazi Human Zoo in this Academy Award-nominated film. 

When it comes to Nazis during the holocaust, I’ve seen realistically do horrible things in Schindler’s List and The Pianist, also seen female versions in a sexualized and ultra-violent matter in nazi exploitation films like Ilsa: She Wolf of the SS, and whimsically lampooned in Jojo Rabbit or Charlie Chaplin’s The Great Dictator. Tarantino even killed the Fuhrer in Reservoir Dogs! 

But never could’ve even imagined seeing them in their daily life as family people before watching what might be considered Jonathan Glazer’s masterpiece, The Zone of Interest. In this acclaimed film, we get to have an in-depth and often voyeuristic look at the lives of the commandant of Auschwitz, Rudolf Höss, his wife Hedwig, and their kids. 

The Result of No Crew On Set

Like Scarlett Johansson’s extraterrestrial character disguising himself as a sexy woman, the director himself seduces us as an audience, disguising his horrible characters as relatable family people. The cameras around the house distract us with all the mundane and everyday things happening while all the suffering happens behind the house’s gates. Often heard in the background and seeing the destruction at night without lights. Just the smoke far away. 

The most aggressive thing we see in the film is Sandra Hüller’s character yelling at her maid over spilled water. Aside from this, she is the best actress of 2023, having performed in two of the year’s best movies. Parenthesis apart, that’s the only act that comes close to violence in the movie. We don’t see them hurt the Jews, but we see them planning their murders like a job project and washing the kids as if the river was poisoned. 

No Words to Conclude. Just a Lot of Thinking.

The Zone of Interest is a film about technical prowess and remarkable narrative. With visuals that look like it was filmed at the time but not technicolor, more than colorized for our displeasure of watching them live like nothing is happening with interludes of a girl putting food for the prisoners that deserve to be as iconic as the girl dressed in red on Schindler’s List. 

Just like there were no words in the theater, I have no words to conclude this review. This may have been Jonathan Glazer’s intention. To leave us with no words to express how we feel about what we just watched for an hour and 40 minutes. Think about the fact that even horrible human beings behave like regular people in their zones. Perhaps in the present, horrible things are happening and we are in our zone. Thus, watching the smoke from afar and going on with our lives.

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