Review: 'Son of Saul' - Anuj Malhotra
The peculiar aesthetic strategy – which borrows from both war photography and the newsreel – illustrates perfectly the chaos inherent in running the final stages of a genocide. This is manifest also in the manner in which the residents of the camp (inmates, officers, workers) move around its premises; helter-skelter, unsupervised, a pinball-machine go ne whack. They all develop their personal, unsupervised routes across the camp premises, affecting an intersection only when a selfish need arises – as a result, the camp begins to resemble a trade-center, a system of interactions founded on small, minor gestures of corruption and industry: a bribe, a threat, a bargain, some religious coercion. Through all of this, Saul retains his commitment to a grander purpose, his private project. At various stages, those around him remind him of his vulnerability, of prospective deception, but he continues to believe. Ultimately, Nemes lays it on heavy with the final statement: inside a universe that thrives on death, faith will quickly be reduced to rubble; to madness. Inside Auschwitz, where the walls are lathered with the symptoms of a vulgar reality, dreaming is no longer a possibility.