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3.7 out of 5 stars15
3.7 out of 5 stars
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32 of 33 people found the following review helpful
Typically, even recent British and American films about WW2 look upon Europe as a raging battlefield and focus upon military engagements. This bleakly convincing Eastern European production portrays an entirely different aspect of the Great Patriotic War, by contrasting three characters in occupied Belorussia. The trio -- a collaborator who seems to have betrayed his workmates to the Nazis, his boyhood friend who has become a partisan, and a 'freedom fighter' -- cross paths in the forest. And their interactions demonstrate that the situation we're presented with may be a long way from the truth... always the first casualty of war...

In The Fog is filmed in washed-out greys and browns in a languid fashion, often opening each scene with a static landscape shot of frozen countryside or tangled, bare trees through which the characters stumble and scramble. The tension comes not from frantic action but from hesitant dialogue, frequently delivered in tones of despair. The condemned man knows it is futile to speak in his defence but he tells his tale in any case. The recent history of his two companions is likewise revealed in stark, unflattering flashbacks.
The result is a sobering portrait of life under occupation, and of how quickly morality crumbles under pressure. An act of sabotage is plotted and carried out, not to strike a blow for freedom against the Nazis, but to undermine a local supervisor even though this will result in many innocent deaths. Comrades are betrayed in an eyeblink to save a skin for a single day. Wives doubt their husbands. And young men join the resistance for the most superficial of motives.

In The Fog peels back layers of motivation to reveal the fragility of the human condition. It trudges painfully through the complex relationships which hostile occupation tends to highlight. It might be a film about WW2 but its themes and observations will be true about many conflict zones of today.
Not a film to enjoy, as such, but one to admire. The moments of starkly beautiful photography contrast sharply with the desolation of the human situation they encapsulate.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 3 November 2014
It is indeed a very good film for most of the reasons already mentioned.

But I must warn you that it is unremittingly bleak and ultimately shows the triumph of despair when hope seems to have been extinguished.
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All too real examination of a very distilled sense of hatred, coiled with betrayal, filled with love, comradeship and pure naked fear.

Slow, ponderous but very deliberate in its intimate depictions of the sheer scale of fear, retching out of the intestines during wartime; as each person becomes entrapped in an ascribed role as the persecutors attempt to stamp their iron fist upon the inner reaches of the soul.

The film depicts life in the rural areas outside of Belarus collapsing into mini Nazi citadels after the German occupation. The film begins with a naturalistic journey as a stomp through a period 1940's village, as three men walk through the crowds to finish their final sentence. The film then works then backwards from this event to make some sense of it. Brilliant in its artistic execution, it begins to weave a film magic around its core themes.

Given the mass killing within this era, the micro focus on a few deaths brings the momentous scale of what occurred en masse to a greater focus. Within the film are the constant tugs of - these are people - they had mothers, sisters, wives, brothers and friends- they were human beings. Each relationship however was torn asunder by the tidal wave of history which swept before them. It completely re orientated their lives so they would be disfigured for eons.

Having a close focus on the lives of three men each forced together to enact a punishment upon a presumed miscreant- one of the four adds another dimension. It is set in a naturalistic light which brings the 1940's back together again - as a recent - but also very primitive and human era.

Brimming with emotional reality, it is akin to a Hamsun, Sartre, Kafka novel and rivals "Our Own" for its intensity in story telling. This is one of the great war films and is certainly irrelevant to any "history buff" or anyone else who suffers from autism. Because this is about the human predicament and how human beings are coiled around a sense of anguish, not how shiny the buttons on the military cuff were.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on 26 February 2014
An enjoyable and engrossing film set during WWII in Russia.

The story line concerns a person who is believed by the locals to have collaborated with the Nazis when he actually did not and the prejudice's and actions that follow because of that.

There is not much action and the films success is in the acting and dialogue and covers an aspect of the war that few films have.

A thought provoking and in some ways a very sad film.
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on 9 October 2015
A gripping war story. The human story in the film shows the true horror of war. very well directed and acted. Well worth watching.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 20 March 2014
Loznitsa is a very good film director, in the line of Sokurov, Sharunas Bartas, and others. The film, good actors, photography, script, and he plays with the documentary and the ficition.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 16 July 2014
An excellent movie on the complexities and horror of the partisan struggle on the Eastern front against the nazis and their fascist local allies in the ukraine
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 16 August 2014
Beautifully filmed. An altogether different sort of film with none of the Hollywood schmaltz so many war films seem to have. Great if you want a challenging but ultimately moving film to watch
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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 23 September 2014
gruelling.Take it.
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 21 December 2014
Outstanding film about loyalties, perceptions of loyalties and the loneliness of being misunderstood and rejected for mistaken reasons. Beautifully shot and acted.
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