Sunday, December 28, 2008

The Reader

Of all the films I've seen in 2008, this, just ahead of Let The Right One In, is my favorite. Kate Winslet: sexy, stupid, worldly, maddening, decent, amoral, strong, pitifully weak -- she was perfect, in every way. The message of the movie -- perfect.

The key to the entire film -- the key to everything related to the Holocaust -- is the question asked by Hannah Schmitz in the film: "What would you have done?" The collective failure of the world to honestly answer that question is the reason we have Rwandas, and Darfurs, and Israel choking the life out of the Palestinians, and then bombing the shit out of them when they hit back. We just haven't learned the lesson of that period: Nazism wasn't about evil per se, it was about cowardice, and groupthink, and tribalism, and taking the easy way out. Deep down we're all Nazis in one way and to one extent or another; some of us just haven't found our own personal Fuehrer yet.