Friday, June 25, 2010

Adam Resurrected (2009)

Paul Schrader's latest film concerns Adam Stein, a patient in a mental hospital caring for those who suffered during the Holocaust. Adam was once a great comedy performer known through out Germany. Haunted by the past when he had to act as a dog for the Commandant of the camp as well as play violin for the prisoners as they went into the gas chambers, Adam is just trying to get by. He refuses to deal with his past until a small boy who thinks he's a dog shows up at the hospital.

The film is more magical realism than stark reality (Adam has a psychic ability) and is more an allegory of the the struggle of people to survive. It is a Holocaust tale to be sure, but the implications of its themes apply to everyone's life. Are we all not a little mad? Are we all not locked in our own prisons? I'm not sure the film is wholly successful in exploring all of its themes but at the same time it is one huge helping of food for thought.

The real find of the film is Jeff Goldblum. Sure we all knew he is a great actor, but I for one never really knew how great he was. Here he goes through every emotion imaginable. He is funny and touching and heart breaking and human. He becomes Adam Stein, disappearing into the role so completely that you stop thinking its an actor and instead see him as the character. Its a masterful performance that unjustly got overlooked by the Oscars.

If you want to see a fantastic performance in a dark, but hopeful tale, see this film. It will stay with you.

Currently out on DVD

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