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Amen (2002)

Cast: Ulrich Tukur, Ulrich Tukur, Mathieu Kassovitz, more...
Director: Costa-Gavras, Costa-Gavras
    see all cast/crew...
Studio: Kino
Genre: Drama, Foreign, Politics and Social Issues, Costume Drama/Period Piece, France, Italy
Running Time: 130 min.
Languages: English
    see additional details...

The collective crimes against humanity known as the Holocaust have been well-documented since the end of World War II, but lingering questions remain about how much was known about the Nazi mass-extermination schemes outside Germany, and what could have been done to prevent them. Political filmmaker Costa-Gavras confronts this thorny issue in this film, adapted from the stage drama The Representative and based in part on actual events. Kurt Gerstein (Ulrich Tukar) is a German chemist whose work on various government health projects led to him being added to the scientific staff of the Nazi SS. While working on disinfection and water purification programs to stem the tide of typhoid among German troops, Gerstein creates a toxic cleanser called Zyclon B. Gerstein soon learns that the SS has found a different use for Zyclon B -- in gas form, it is being used to exterminate Jews and other political undesirables en masse. Gerstein, a man of strong Christian faith, is horrified by this revelation, and he is determined to tell the world in hope of stopping the genocide; however, in Germany, Sweden, and the United States, Gerstein's story falls on deaf ears. One man who does believe Gerstein is Riccardo Fontana (Mathieu Kassovitz), a Jesuit with ties to the Vatican and close contact with Pope Pius XII (Marcel Iures). Fontana urges the Pope to speak out against the ongoing massacre, but the Pope declines, believing Russia is a greater menace to the Catholic Church than the Nazis. In time, desperate to spread the word of the holocaust, Gerstein and Fontana find themselves joining ranks with Roman Jews being rounded up by Nazi forces in occupied Italy. ~ Mark Deming, All Movie Guide

GreenCine Member Reviews

Story-telling by a master by RMorris August 14, 2007 - 12:45 PM PDT
Interesting, absorbing, suspenseful story with a political twist, great casting and expert story-telling are typical of Costa-Gavras' best work (Z, Missing), and this film does not disappoint. Here, the story is about the complex relationship between the Catholic Church and the Third Reich. Although Costa-Gavras has a reputation of injecting leftist-leaning politics into his movies, the politics are usually presented in a careful, thoughtful way that do not insult or bulldoze the viewer. Here there is a steady dialogue between interested parties of all persuasions over how to stop the mass killing of the jews. Although the humble priest comes out to hold the moral high ground at the end, the other opinions are expressed in the way that one has at least an understanding of the conditions under which normal thoughtful, God-fearing people would remain silent. Expect an entertaining, thoughtful, well-acted, heart-breaking, suspenseful 2+ hours.

GreenCine Member Rating

(Average 7.57)
21 Votes
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