USA/Germany/UK [124min] Color Genre : Drama, Romance Release Date : December 10, 2008 Directed by : Stephen Daldry Written by : David Hare Starring : Kate Winslet, Ralph Fiennes, David Kross, Alexandra Maria Lara, Lena Olin, Bruno Ganz Music by : Nico Muhly Cinematography : Chris Menges, Roger Deakins Editing by : Claire Simpson
The Reader is challenging to watch and harder to define.
At its core is the story of a summertime relationship between a 15-year-old schoolboy and a 30-something woman who ends the sexual liaison abruptly.Yet, there is far more to this film than a flashback/flashforward plot line examining how that boy, Michael Berg, grows into an emotionally stunted man. It is also about the woman, Hanna Schmitz (Kate Winslet), and her life. She is introduced as an illiterate tram ticket collector living in a dingy apartment but with a desire, bordering on obsession, for bathing.In her grimy space, a bath becomes a sacred act not only for herself, but later Berg, who she insists upon calling kid.
Berg would read to her his school novels, giving her an education into Homer, Anton Chekhov and D H Lawrence.During Berg's years as a law student Schmitz reappears as a defendant at a trial of former SS officers accused of war crimes. Berg learns her sudden departure years ago followed her promotion to an office job, which she left to work as a SS guard.As viewers, we are conditioned to establish a connection to the movie's hero or heroine.Yet the morality of Schmitz's actions - seducing a schoolboy and allowing 300 Jewish people to burn to death in a bombed church - means you cannot.This shifts the focus to Berg, but his detached personality makes it hard to create a connection.However, rather than this being a weakness, it is the film's strength.
The Reader steers clear of the delving into the issue of war crimes. It is more about the mysterious shadows of the past, which, in Schmitz's case, give her such a crippling sense of pride that she sacrifices her freedom rather than admit to illiteracy.It is also about the adult Berg's struggle to untangle the emotional web Schmitz weaved as she took away his youth and innocence. It makes for fascinating, challenging and rewarding viewing.
Winslet's performance is inspiring as she oscillates between a disciplined woman to a person haunted by a past and events never specified.Fiennes once again proves himself a solid actor but it is David Kross as the younger Berg who really deserves the applause. He provides a depth to his character which belies his years.The movie's production quality, cinematography and costuming invoke the changing atmosphere of Berlin from pre-World War II right through to the late 1990s.This is a strong film for those who enjoy their cinema serious, challenging and thought-provoking.
The Reader is a 2008 drama film based on the 1995 German novel of the same name by Bernhard Schlink.It was the last film for producers Anthony Minghella and Sydney Pollack, both of whom died before it was released. Production began in Germany in September 2007, and the film hit Malaysia cinema on 5th March, 2009.Winslet and David Kross, who plays the young Michael, have received much praise for their performances. Winslet received praise and won a Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress, BAFTA Award for Best Actress, Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress and the Academy Award for Best Actress at the 81st Academy Awards for her role in the film. The film has also been nominated for several other major awards.