Monday, December 22, 2014

The Reader (5/10)

A war movie that begins after the war. A war movie that doesn't feature a single war scene. But nonetheless, a war movie that tackles some important questions arising from wars. Thats "The Reader" in a nutshell.

The movie starts after the end of WWII and shows us the affair between a young man and a woman twice his age. An interesting aspect of this affair is that the lady likes being read to. Thats where the slightly misleading title comes from. Anyway, the affair is short-lived and the next time we see these two, the young man is a law student observing a war crimes trial and the lady is among those on trial.

The movie doesn't exactly preach anything but it seems to try to make the war criminals human. By telling us that this woman who was responsible for hundreds of deaths, just liked being read to, the film in some way tries to humanize her. Add to this the fact that the ending seems to somehow absolve her of her crimes, and the message of the movie seems to be that even war criminals were simply human with innate human traits.

And this is why I didn't like this movie at all. I have the utmost respect for human life and so, this woman who valued her orders more than innocent lives will never have my compassion or forgiveness. She was a monster and just because she liked books and reading doesn't make her any less of a monster. The movie seemed to forgive her while I never, ever would.

Having said that, technically the movie is great. Very well directed with excellent acting all round. Thats the only reason I rate it 5/10 instead of 1/10

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