The Reader (2008)

"Will you read to me?"
At a glance:
Easily the weakest of Daldry's three features, this muted, half-baked examination of German guilt does however come off as more accessible compared to the rest - well, maybe not Billy Elliot. Clockin in over two hours, we're taken on the psychosexual scandal-soaked sexcapades of one Michael Berg, who chances upon an older woman named Hanna Schmitz one summer and subsequently experiences an affair most 15-year-olds never get. The jammy bastard. Years later, he ends up an aspirin lawyer in court, listenin in to the case of his one-time lover, now bein tried for war crimes. A fleetin love story just as much as it is a study of shame and guilt.
Bad news on the doorstep:
Wanted this to win Oscar for Best Pic but it was the least watched nominee. Malaysian theatrical release was painfully cut up.
Reminds me of:
Illiterate whore I knew. Needed help with instructions on her meds.
Watch out for:
Oscar-winnin perf from Kate Winslet, one of the finest Brit actresses I've watched. Impossible to discuss this film without creditin her fragile yet angry, womanly countenance, a precision in actin that elevates the film to another level of cinematic delight. She has done better (Holy Smoke, Sense And Sensibility) but her intense, annoyed portrayal of an older lover is arrestin. The castin of young David Kross (who learned English for the movie and was afforded a special schedulin arrangement so that his sex scenes could be filmed when he turned 18) is creepy because he looks so much like Heath Ledger. However, together with soulful Ralph Fiennes as the old Berg and other peripherals like timeless siren Lena Olin, it was always a line-up that seemed to be built around Winslet's stellar performance, although it obviously wasn't meant to.
Amacam joker, berapa bintang lu mau kasi?
Disappointed with Daldry's inclination to understate things in his direction, despite the apparently successful partnership with screenwriter David Hare to adhere to Bernhard Schlink's source material. The greatest triumph of this movie is the humanisation of Hanna Schmitz as the SS guard. A wonderful and completely plausible explanation on how ordinary people could do horrendous things when we're outside lookin in. Had my hopes too high, though.★★★
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