Be2Can Review: ‘In the Fade’ an Effective Revenge Drama
Actress Diane Kruger gives a riveting performance as a woman who has lost everything and seeks justice in In the Fade, the latest film from Fatih Akin (The Edge of Heaven, Goodbye Berlin), a German director of Turkish descent.
But as the film nears its inevitable conclusion, it becomes apparent that however well-made In the Fade is, it has become little more than the usual revenge movie in the vein of Death Wish, dressed up in arthouse trimmings.
Taken on those grounds, the movie works just fine. But for anyone expecting something a little more thoughtful or challenging, Katja’s quest for justice won’t bring satisfaction to anyone but herself.
In the Fade shakes things up a bit by having grieving mother Katja Sekerci as the lead, and by challenging preconceptions of who is responsible for the deadly explosion that results in the deaths of her husband and young son: Islamic terrorism, of course, is the initial suspect, but we soon discover that neo-Nazis targeting Muslim businesses are to blame.
Kruger, who has been featured in Hollywood films like Inglourious Basterds and National Treasure, is a whirlwind force as Katja, who turns to drugs to ease her pain before she learns who the suspects are: André (Ulrich Brandhoff) and Edda Möller (Hanna Hilsdorf), a known white supremacist couple.
Katja is certain the pair are responsible because she saw Hanna outside her husband’s business hours before the blast. And so is Edda’s father, Jürgen (Ulrich Tukur), who finds bomb-making materials tied to the explosion in his garage. But is that enough evidence to convict them?
The film seems to think so, even if the German legal system does not, and so we get an unusual final act set on a Greek island that aims to provide deliver either some cheap thrills or a pat resolution to the story.
Final end-credit scrawl brings attention to the very-real problem of neo-Nazi terrorism in Germany, which has resulted in numerous murders and bombings over the past two decades.
But In the Fade doesn’t seem to do justice to that real-world issue, where murderers sometimes get away and don’t face the wrath of Paul Kersey vigilante justice. It could have been a stronger, and certainly more infuriating, film had the third act been excised completely.
One of the other issues raised with In the Fade is that it doesn’t address the issue of Islamic terrorism; that doesn’t sound entirely reasonable on the surface, given that the particulars of this film instead involve neo-Nazi terrorism.
While watching the film, however, it’s something that’s always in the background, in the minds of the police and media and the motives of the killers; it’s not Akin’s responsibility to address Islamic terrorism here, but by ignoring it the film loses a little depth.
Screened as part of this year’s Be2Can festival in Prague (it also played at the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival in July), In the Fade will see a general release in the Czech Republic on January 4.