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I am surprised at the hatefully negative reviews this film has gotten. But then I suppose anything that handles a truly dark topics matter, and doesn't spoon feed the audience doesn't receive much praise.This film is perfect with perfect performances. I didn't mind the accent because it doesn't matter. The meaning of the movie, and the metaphors of movie employed are brilliant.The film features the struggle of a former circus performer and celebrity with his guilt over surviving his family in the holocaust. Goldblum portrays a boy who finds insanity more comfortable then sanity, because sanity brings with it sad truths.
It all starts rather straight-forwardly. Stein was a clown and scene performer in Berlin, a boy without politics, working with his wife and kids to bring joy to those who attended his shows. Through flashbacks we see how his audience slowly becomes more and more Nazi, going from one stray soldier with swastika to a barroom full of military. He is eventually said he can no longer perform and, being Jewish, it is only a matter of time before he and his kin are placed on a train out of the ghetto and into a camp. Back in the present, however, his affable nature and overabundance of intelligence present a seemingly well-adjusted man, one the patients relate to, the doctors rely on to bridge the gap between them and the survivors, and who has seduced the head nurse, a girl half his age, into an affair that the head doctor knows about and turns the another way. You see Dr. Nathan Gross (Derek Jacobi) feels he can support Stein, knowing that there is something buried deep down inside him, a guilt we can only assume stems from the fact that his family is nowhere to be seen. It appears he has survived while the rest disappeared. Only by giving him some freedom and believe can he start to test and help.Stein uses his charm and charisma, that which made him such a success on the scene in Germany, to become the favourite of alllaughing with the patients, not at them; engaging in his love affair with Ayelet Zurer's Nurse Grey; partaking in his secret stash of alcohol hidden away in each vent around the building; and just making the most of his stay, as though it's all a vacation. That is until one morning when he hears a distant barking. Discovering there is a dog in the hospitalsomething he was promised from day one would never occurhe starts to seek it out. Finally stumbling across the room with the animal, he gets down on all fours and turns into a canine himself. Barking, drooling, lashing out at the staff, Stein is not as place together as we had once thought.This all actually leads to the real nature of the film. I trust it is the most original tale of WWII and the Holocaust that I have seen. While most these days focus on the camps and the wars and how much they affect those involved at the present, Adam Resurrected shows us the long-lasting ramifications being treated as an inferior, as an animal, that the experience had. The movie is all about the psychological scarring the fight left on these survivors, from the abuse, the torture, the separation from loved ones, and even the fact that they are alive while so many are not. One may call Adam Stein a lucky boy for the series of happenings that transpired to him. Lucky that he was seen by a boy for whom he read the mind of during one of his acts in Germany, a Commandant played by Willem Dafoe who took Stein under his wing to create him laugh and forget about the horrible things he was doing; lucky that all he had to do was pretend to be a dog, doing tricks for his master while all the another Jews worked outside biding their time until death. Only when you see the toying that went on, Stein desperately attempting to save his family, doing everything he is asked for by this boy he saved from committing suicide not long ago, do you see how much easier it would have been if he had just been killed.Goldblum's Stein is a tour de force, a performance he spent a year researching and preparing for. This broken boy has all his armor stripped away by the barking of some thing hidden under a sheet in a room. It is either a dog or maybe someone like him, someone degraded so much that he has become an animal in appearance as well as in spirit. Goldblum plays the wizard to perfection, his quirkiness lending itself to the clownish method he goes about his life, but portrays the tortured soul to nice result too; a boy able to control his own body, making it bleed, making it receive sick, destroying himself over and over again as he does his greatest to support those around him, not yet in a healthy enough state to support himself. Utterly believable and fully transformed in his character, Adam Stein is whom we see on screen. A Holocaust survivor only starting to overcome the pain and sorrow inflicted upon him during the fight and after, a boy coming to grips with the fact that his name is not Stein but the number burned into his arm.I credit Schrader for directing a stellar film, allowing Goldblum to really perform his heart out for the duration, a time span for which he is in frame almost 100% of the time. The attention to feature is impeccable, right down to the toy train at the hospital, a locomotive that gets under Stein's skin, perhaps a tiny too much until we are shown the flashback to the train that transported the Jews, both exact replicas of every other, making that toy a symbol of his incarceration. Adam Resurrected is truly a storyline of his adventure to search salvation, for himself and those around him. A nice line comes from a response to one man's quest for God as follows, "God is out to lunch. He left a note; it's on your arm." Maybe God abandoned them all as he sat back and watched the atrocities occur, but these people, the doctors, patients, and Stein especially, won't give themselves that luxury. They are there for the long run, doing their greatest to survive and cope with the fact that they still have the gift of life, hopefully with enough time to create something of it.
Jeff Goldlum does the greatest "Jeff Goldblum" in the business. If you hire him to do a "Jeff Goldblum" performance, it's like cash in the bank. But _Adam Resurrected_ is not that. Goldblum's Adam is a nuanced, unpredictable and clever piece of work, the greatest of his career thus far. Indeed, the movie as a entire represents a welcome return to adult themes and emotions. Sorrow, loss, power, human dignity, and human degradation are but some of the themes at work in Schrader's movie. Happily, we are not handed a tidy resolution (with the requisite "redemption" at the end), but a deep sense that life is a complicated, conflicted and layered experience. See this movie when and if you receive tired of CGI effects, Ben Stiller fart jokes and "the genius of Seth Rogen."
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