(Release Info London schedule; June 22nd, 2018, Curzon Victoria, 13:30)
"In The Fade"
Out of nowhere, Katja's (Diane Kruger) life falls apart when her husband Nuri (Numan Acar) and little son Rocco (Rafael Santana) are killed in a bomb attack. Her friends and family try to give her the support she needs, and Katja somehow manages to make it through the funeral. But the mind numbing search for the perpetrators and reasons behind the senseless killing complicate Katja's painful mourning, opening wounds and doubts. Danilo Fava (Denis Moschitto), a lawyer and Nuri's best friend, represents Katja in the eventual trial against the two suspects; a young couple from the neo-Nazi scene. The trial pushes Katja to the edge, but there's simply no alternative for her, she wants justice.
This film is inspired by the 'NSU' murders in 2011. 'The German Neo-Nazi' group 'National Socialist Underground' perpetrated a series of xenophobe murders between 2000 and 2007 throughout Germany. The big scandal was that the police focused their investigation on people within the community of the victims, blaming drug or gambling connections. Police pressure was so intense that even the press and the community themselves began to have similar suspicions.
The film is broken into three parts. The first establishes Katja’s relationship with her family and takes us through the bombing. The second us into the courtroom where the perpetrators of the bombing stand trial for their crimes. The third follows Katja as she decides what to do in the wake of the trial. The courtroom scenes are some of the best in recent memory. Danilo Fava puts in a rock solid turn Katja’s lawyer. The scenes in which he's debating the defense are exciting, and it’s just as interesting to watch him work the system on both strategic and methodical levels as it's to study the differences between a German trial and an American one. The slight alterations of format allow room for all the high energy courtroom bickering that procedural fans know and love, but with a decidedly unique flavor afforded to it by it's foreignness.
For example, the way that the lawyers punctuate their ranting knowledge-drops with a loaded thank you evokes things like "Philadelphia" and "A Time Fo Kill", but in a way never before seen, much like your honor which is dramatized by litigants to great effect. The third act brings us into what should be a typical revenge tale, and in a lot of ways it's, but "In the Fade" is less concerned with the catharsis of vengeance than it's the ethical questions that revenge naturally raises. Katja has her own morality, her own definition of justice. In that way, Katja embodies something dormant inside of us that should always remain dormant. This film is about that universal feeling of grief and it's many layers. Here’s hoping this gem gets a wide release.