Son of Saul (2015). 4/5 Stars.



When enough people affirm the negative action of their peers the action becomes acceptable and once the German’s decided that the Jews were not fully human they had given themselves permission for wholesale murder. ‘Pigs’ is the background word for the lines of people awaiting slaughter, funnelled along in rows and undressing for the showers: ‘Hang your clothes on a peg and take note of your number so you can retrieve them after your shower. Be quick, your hot drink is getting cold’ and even as they enter the gas chamber comforted by a lie conscripted workers are sorting the clothes, removing valuables and paperwork, preparing for the next intake. Saul is one of these, a slaughterhouse worker surviving through disassociation.

Dead bodies are piled and moved to be incinerated while their death-expelled shit and piss is scrubbed away. Later their ash is shovelled into the river, the fast flowing water swiftly dispersing the evidence of this ghastly conspiracy. All is revealed via a frantic camera focused grimly on Saul who has discovered the body of his son among the ruined piles of the reeking dead. He decides that a Rabbi must be found to pray over the corpse and his ensuing search for a man of faith is a potent act of defiant affirmation in a world without reason, compassion nor conscience.

Holocaust films remind us of the tenuous nature of society, warning us in the most visceral way imaginable of the psychopath resting closely beneath the veneer of civilised society. ‘Son of Saul’ is both a description of this psychopath and an account of how darkness magnifies the potency of the light. This film is not light reading, this is a dense and visceral endurance test set apart by its inventive method. Compelling, ghastly and honest.



2 Responses to “Son of Saul (2015). 4/5 Stars.”

  1. CineMuse Says:

    Great review thank you. Son of Saul is not an easy film to write about and it is painful to watch, but it is a modern masterpiece and the only film I have awarded 5 out of 5 stars. Drop in for a read of my take; I’m now a follower too.

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