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Summary of a Review on the Grey Zone

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Manohla Dargis wrote a review on the film The Grey Zone in the Los Angeles Times. She is one of the chief film critics for The New York Times and formerly a film writer at The Village Voice, the film critic for the Los Angeles Times, and the editor of the film section at LA Weekly. She has written for a variety of publications, including Film Comment and Sight and Sound. In her review, Manohla compares The Grey Zone to Schindler’s List saying: “Steven Spielberg's decision to show water rather than Zyklon B flowing from shower heads in "Schindler's List" may have been misguided, but you can understand why he opted not to re-create the agonies of the gas chambers: It would have been unbearable” (Manohla Dargis). She is quite concerned about how the holocaust is represented in the film. Dargis assumes that Nelson has some moral responsibility to the subject matter. “The desire to personalize the Holocaust is reasonable but it is a hazardous point of departure for a story as difficult and immense as that of the Nazi extermination camps, in part because personalizing that story is to risk trading understanding for empathy, even where none is warranted” (Dargis).There are many ways The Grey Zone frustrates the viewer. The film has no hero and there is no “good guy”. The film is too graphic, there are too many dead bodies and too many torture scenes. There is also the frustration of the film not having a good ending, nothing turns out good in the end everyone ends up killed.

Dargis feels like the filmmakers had good intentions on making The Grey Zone saying: “ There is little doubt that everyone involved in the making of "The Grey Zone," had the best of intentions when they embarked on this project” (Dargis). But in the end good intentions can only get you so far. “The problem is that good intentions are as useless as artistic ambitions at Auschwitz, where neither art nor sentimentality has a place. It isn't just that there's something unsettling about a film that aestheticizes a crematorium; it's that there's something trivializing about the very effort” (Dargis). She is very critical of the film, wondering whether or not it should have been made at all.



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