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Son of Saul

War . Thriller . Drama

In the horror of 1944 Auschwitz, a prisoner forced to burn the corpses of his own people finds moral survival trying to save from the flames the body of a boy he takes for his son.

Actors: Géza Röhrig , Levente Molnár , Urs Rechn , Todd Charmont , Jerzy Walczak , Sándor Zsótér , Marcin Czarnik
Directors: László Nemes
Country: HUNGARY
Release: 2015-12-18
More Info:
  • Richard Roeper

    Son of Saul is lasting work of art — difficult to watch, impossible to forget.

    Chicago Sun-Times Full Review
  • Michael Phillips

    This is a small, tight, starkly claustrophobic film, closer in impact to Elie Wiesel's first-person account of the concentration camps, "Night," than to the artful, slightly suspect emotional catharsis of director Steven Spielberg's "Schindler's List."

    Chicago Tribune Full Review
  • Ann Hornaday

    Thanks to his taste, rigor and superb sense of control, Nemes manages to create images that are both discreet and graphic, respectful and confrontational, inspiring and unsparing.

    Washington Post Full Review
  • Mick LaSalle

    Almost too much to bear. But brace yourself and see it anyway. It’s worth it.

    San Francisco Chronicle Full Review
  • Stephanie Zacharek

    Röhrig isn’t an experienced actor. In fact, he’s a poet and a former kindergarten teacher, living in the Bronx. But that could be what makes the performance so magnetic.

    Time Full Review
  • Bob Mondello

    It's not an easy sit, but it is a riveting, effective one, and a genuine change from the familiar conventions of most holocaust dramas.

    NPR Full Review
  • Tasha Robinson

    It's dizzying and tremendously sad, but simultaneously exhilarating due to Nemes' complete control of his environment, and complete merging of his narrative and compositional elements. It isn't just a unique story, it's a unique execution.

    The Verge Full Review
  • Inkoo Kang

    It’s that devotion to truth that makes Son of Saul such a difficult watch — and also one of year’s most important masterpieces.

    TheWrap Full Review
  • Kenneth Turan

    Son of Saul is an immersive experience of the most disturbing kind, an unwavering vision of a particular kind of hell. No matter how many Holocaust films you've seen, you've not seen one like this.

    Los Angeles Times Full Review
  • Joe Morgenstern

    Good movies summon up worlds. Son of Saul, a great movie and a debut feature by László Nemes, summons up a world we may think we know from a visual perspective we’ve never encountered — the willed tunnel vision of a Jewish worker in a Nazi death camp.

    Wall Street Journal Full Review
  • Andrew O'Hehir

    Son of Saul is a work of superlative filmmaking craft and moral intensity. Full Review
  • Chris Nashawaty

    It’s the rarest kind of moviegoing experience: an absolute masterpiece.

    Entertainment Weekly Full Review
  • Kate Taylor

    Unusual for a Holocaust drama, the film offers no false hope of rescue or resurrection, but does insist that our bearing witness matters.

    The Globe and Mail (Toronto) Full Review
  • John Bleasdale

    Son of Saul is not simply a good film, it feels like an urgent and important one, a warning from history.

    CineVue Full Review
  • Peter Bradshaw

    By any standards, this would be an outstanding film, but for a debut it is remarkable.

    The Guardian Full Review
  • Gregory Ellwood

    In terms of filmmaking prowess, "remarkable" may not do Laszlo Nemes' holocaust drama "Son of Saul" justice.

    Hitfix Full Review
  • Dominick Suzanne-Mayer

    At times, László Nemes’ film induces the sensation of drowning, slowly. Not the kind where you’re pulled under by the riptide, but the kind where you’ve been treading water for so long that the body starts to betray you in tiny increments, and any life preserver must be met with utter desperation.

    Consequence of Sound Full Review
  • A.A. Dowd

    No film set over a single day at Auschwitz is going to be an easy sit, and there are moments here, like a mass midnight purging, that threaten an audience’s capacity to keep watching. But Son Of Saul, for all the enormity of its subject matter, is an oddly gripping experience — a vision of intense purpose found in what may be the final hours of a life.

    The A.V. Club Full Review
  • Eric Kohn

    A remarkable refashioning of the Holocaust drama that reignites the setting with extraordinary immediacy, Son of Saul is both terrifying to watch and too gripping in its moment-to-moment to look away.

    indieWIRE Full Review
  • Bill Goodykoontz

    Son of Saul offers Nemes' harrowing vision of the possibility of peace, at least within oneself. And it is a singular vision, one that demands to be shared.

    Arizona Republic Full Review
  • Anthony Lane

    The remarkable thing is that Son of Saul is a début: Nemes has never directed a full-length film before. As for Röhrig, he is a poet as well as an actor, born in Budapest and now living in the Bronx. If neither of them made another movie, this one would suffice.

    The New Yorker Full Review
  • Jonathan Romney

    Using techniques of distanciation that sometimes make it an alienating, even confusing experience, László Nemes’s cogent, strikingly confident debut is harrowing, but cinematically rewarding.

    Screen International Full Review
  • Justin Chang

    The result is as grim and unyielding a depiction of the Holocaust as has yet been made on that cinematically overworked subject — a masterful exercise in narrative deprivation and sensory overload that recasts familiar horrors in daringly existential terms.

    Variety Full Review
  • James Berardinelli

    The film’s contribution is the unique perspective it provides about what it meant to work in a death camp.

    ReelViews Full Review
  • Ty Burr

    On the whole it’s daring and committed, and in Röhrig’s tremendously focused performance, it honors all the saints we’ll never know. And that’s worth any risk.

    Boston Globe Full Review
  • Steven Rea

    Offers a crushing view of humanity at its most desperate, and a view of one man's fevered efforts to find grace and dignity amid the horror.

    Philadelphia Inquirer Full Review
  • Christy Lemire

    Röhrig has the tricky task of carrying this story on his shoulders—and us along with him—without the benefit of being able to emote or even say much. It’s a physical performance as much as it is a quietly emotional one; he has to establish who this man is mainly through his gestures, demeanor and energy. Full Review
  • Peter Travers

    There's nothing trivial about this Hungarian masterwork from first-time director László Nemes. You don't merely witness horror, you feel it in your bones.

    Rolling Stone Full Review
  • Oliver Lyttelton

    Though it has a few elements of its construction that might be questionable, it's mostly a powerful, thoughtful, and visually striking picture.

    The Playlist Full Review
  • Scott Tobias

    Nemes does everything he can to connect the audience to Saul's numbness, shielding us as much as possible from the cacophony of human misery that rings in his ears. The chill seeps in regardless, as it should, and Nemes doesn't try to counter it with more than a tiny, stubborn flicker of hope.

    Village Voice Full Review
  • Tim Robey

    It’s almost too ruthless an achievement for its own good, in a way. It pushes its vision to the bitter end, eschewing emotion, reflection, or intellectual framing as if banned at gunpoint from any such lapses. But these are the very dehumanising conditions Saul is dealing with, and the film’s brave choice is to follow them to the letter.

    The Telegraph Full Review
  • Boyd van Hoeij

    Utterly uneasy to watch but strikingly and confidently assembled, the film is a powerful aural and visual experience that doesn’t quite manage to sustain itself over the course of its running time, but is a remarkable — and remarkably intense — experience nonetheless.

    The Hollywood Reporter Full Review
  • Peter Rainer

    Of course, on some level, no movie about this subject can fail to move us, and Son of Saul has its share of powerful sequences. I wanted it to be great, though, with a largeness of vision to match the awful immensity of its subject.

    Christian Science Monitor Full Review
  • A.O. Scott

    Mr. Nemes orchestrates a tour de force of suspense, a swift symphony of collisions, coincidences and reversals that is almost unbearably exciting. His skill is undeniable, but also troubling. The movie offers less insight than sensation, an emotional experience that sits too comfortably within the norms of entertainment. This is not entirely the director’s fault. The Holocaust, once forbidden territory, is now safe and familiar ground.

    The New York Times Full Review
  • Farran Smith Nehme

    Yet while Nemes criticized “Schindler’s List” as “conventional,” all that’s new here is the hyper-realistic technique: Saul’s quest is not very far from the girl in the red dress.

    New York Post Full Review
  • Ed Gonzalez

    The film's meticulousness orchestration only calls attention to its dubious sense of purpose, which lies beyond human subjectivity.

    Slant Magazine Full Review
  • David Edelstein

    The movie doesn’t expand in your mind — it shrinks along with its protagonist, its conclusion a reductio ad absurdum.

    New York Magazine (Vulture) Full Review
  • Marc Savlov

    The effect is devastating, both emotionally and physically. You literally can’t take your eyes off Saul.

    Austin Chronicle Full Review
  • Lawrence Toppman

    Hungarian writer-director László Nemes makes an extraordinary feature-length debut with this film, which requires us to put together bits of information and leaves us guessing at a few missing pieces.

    Charlotte Observer Full Review
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