Sunday, April 12, 2009

The Reader (2008) (2nd viewing)

Post-WWII Germany: Nearly a decade after his affair with an older woman came to a mysterious end, law student Michael Berg re-encounters his former lover as she defends herself in a war-crime trial. [imdb]

Nominated for 5 Oscars:

Best Picture
Best Director: Stephen Daldry
Best Actress: Kate Winslet (WINNER)
Best Adapted Screenplay
Best Cinematography

Kate Winslet as a nazi? How exciting!!! or not :(
Why didn't she win for Eternal Sunshine... or Little Children?!
As you can probably tell, I'm not a fan of this film, although it was a bit more watchable the 2nd time around. Is it because I just LOVE the book?! Is it because Hanna Schmitz (the nazi) is one of the best written characters of 20th century literature? She is fascinating in the book, but so unfortunately presented in the film.
The guy who wrote the screenplay knew shit. The story has 3 big parts, following different ages of Michael. My problem is with the 1st part. Maybe because he didn't use enough book material. Maybe because there was too much detail put on the sex. YES, this film can give you an erection, but that's not what I'm looking for in a non-porn; lots of homo-erotic stuff (though no gay characters).
Ralph Fiennes and David Kross (15 yo Michael) are ok, but not that worth mentioning. Lena Olin is excellent and should've gotten a Best Supporting Actress campaign!!! The music is beautiful, the direction is simple but not bad, the cinematography is good, but not excellent. I'll write more about Kate when I'll do her profile for Alex in Movieland (that's why I saw the film again). Kate is bad in the first part and way better in the other two. In the book, Hanna Schmitz knew how to be rough, but also how to be witty and playful; NOT in the film unfortunately.
Halfway through, The Reader gets better. But I don't really care that much by then. It's an incomplete story that doesn't do justice to the book. I'll post Kate's profile soon on the other blog.
My rating for the film: 6.5/10.

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