Tim Blake Nelson – The Grey Zone (2001)

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At once brutally realistic and highly theatrical, Tim Blake Nelson’s screen version of his play “The Grey Zone” may well evoke the mechanized horror in the bowels of the Nazi death camps more vividly than any fictional film to date.

But its staccato, Mamet-style dialogue exchanges, breathless pacing and remarkably healthy, well-fed-looking actors create a cumulative sense of artificiality that seriously undercuts the devastating effect clearly being sought in this fictionalized dramatization of the only organized uprising ever attempted by the prisoners at Auschwitz.

Laudably avoiding cheap sentimentality and phony heroics in its aggressive investigation of an all-but-impossible moral quandary, this is a relentless, hard-edged, tough-minded picture that, even with supportive reviews, faces an uphill commercial struggle upon planned release by Lions Gate next spring. Continue reading