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Movie Review: Saviors in the Night

By James Beale
November 7, 2010

"Saviors in the Night" is truly a film about isolation and the vigilance of the human spirit that just happens to be set in Germany during World War II.

A Jewish family, aware they're about to be transported to a concentration camp, flees their house in the city to the countryside. Father Menne, played by Armin Rohde, and the mother Marga, played by Veronica Ferres, are separated. This isn't the usual tale - they must stay apart and take separate journeys to stay that way.

Rohde has less to do than Ferres, but he plays Menne with a quiet desperation that grows considerably in the second half of the film. This erupts into a rather unforgettable climax. Marga, meanwhile, is kept by a group of farmers who are the true heroes of this story. The film is based on Marga's 1967 memoir, and therefore the strokes of both her and the family are extremely deep.

The way the family is presented, with a son in Russia, is extremely conflicted, and this is a welcome change. There are plenty of films dealing with Jews during World War II, but rarely are the Germans and Nazis painted with such complexity.

Thankfully, all of this is incredibly understated. "Saviors in the Night" never stoops to graphic brutality or a rousing musical score to intrigue the audience - it does this with the passage of time and the audience's knowledge of the war.

There may not be much in "Saviors in the Night" that is new to audiences, though. Plenty of films do things better: The tension-filled opening to "Inglourious Basterds" comes to mind.

Still, much like the protagonists, the film quietly works in the background, humble and unassuming. This is a story that has been told before, but it deserves to be told again.

3/4 stars.

"Saviors in the Night" is playing at the Lyric Nov. 5 and Nov. 7 to Nov. 11.