In the Fade [Blu-ray]
Blu-ray A - America - Magnolia Pictures
Review written by and copyright: Robert Segedy (31st July 2018).
The Film

The senseless tragedy of a terrorist bombing is a difficult subject to address, but Fatih Akin is no ordinary director, and so this is hardly an ordinary film. Grief is rarely a subject that is addressed in today’s motion pictures, but I must commend Akin’s handling of the subject matter, and his choice for a leading lady was superb: Diane Kruger, won the Best Actress Award at the 2017 Cannes Film Festival for her incredible performance. This is hardly a feel-good film; the subject matter is not merely to entertain, but to educate some difficult lessons, that is if the viewer is willing to undertake the challenge and submit themselves to the emotional exercises that the director has in mind.

I came into this film cold without more than a mere glance at the artwork and I thought that I was in store for another Hollywood exercise in excess, but this turned out to be a real surprise and I was completely engaged in the story. The story is based on a real-life incident and perhaps that is why this film was much more than just an entertaining 107 minutes; hard issues are explored and even though some may accuse Akin of side-stepping responsibility in addressing some of the more sensitive issues, there is no doubt that the closing shots of the film are powerful and certainly deliberate.

The film opens in a prison as we watch Katja (Diane Kruger) marry a Turkish immigrant Nuri (Numan Acar), a prisoner sentenced for drug trafficking. Fast forward seven years to the present and now Nuri works as a tax advisor in Germany where he strives to be a legitimate businessman helping out ex-convicts. Katja drops off her son, Rocco (Rafael Santana) at her husband’s office so that she can spend the day with her pregnant friend, Birgit (Samia Muriel Chancrin). Upon returning to pick up her husband and son, she sees the street blacked off by the police; apparently there was a bomb detonated in front of his business and they were both killed instantly. Dazed and in unbearable pain, Katja retreats to her earlier drug use to escape the emotional burden as it pushes down on her. Her lawyer and family friend, Danilo (Denis Moschitto), urges Katja to pursue justice through the judicial system and eventually two neo-Nazis are arrested for the murders. The system though has little sympathy for this college dropout who married a foreign drug pusher and even though there is a trial, justice is hardly served.

The film is broken down into three acts: “Family”, “Justice”, and “The Sea”. In the first part, we see Katja and her husband and son; in the second act is the trial, and the conclusion takes place in Greece near the Sea. It is impossible to talk about this film without spoilers, so if you haven’t seen this yet, please skip forward to the technical reviews. The “Justice” sequence is very well done but that doesn’t mean that there weren’t some cheap shots taken by the defence toward Katja, who is the prime eye witness of the case. The married couple who are white supremacists and accused of masterminding the atrocious crime are defended by a nasty attorney (Johannes Krisch) and he manages to cast apprehensions towards Katja and her supposed drug addled state of mind when she saw the wife leave her bicycle with the bomb unattended. This part of the film was like throwing kerosene on a fire and it truly made me wonder if justice would ever be served. Thankfully we are not exposed to the bombing, but we are witness to the coroner’s account in the courtroom and the cold scientific facts cannot hide the horrible truth of what happened to Katja’s young son. The judge’s announcement of finding the couple not guilty is a real slap in the face and we recoil alongside Katja as she too is baffled by the court’s verdict. Her lawyer tells her that the fight isn’t over and that they will appeal but by that time the fire has gone out for Katja and she soon begins to think of vengeance.

Thank goodness that this wasn’t just another Hollywood Liam Neeson handing out a well-deserved ass kickings to the villain’s film, because that would be all too easy. Instead, the director has Katja retreat to Greece where the neo-Nazi’s have gone to hide, and she struggles with the idea of revenge and acceptance. In the end, she understands that being left behind without her family is not a way for her and so she chooses death instead of life. Katja goes out in a blaze of glory calmly taking the two perpetrators with her, avenging her family’s loss and cleaning the slate for good. The final scene is a beautiful crane shot of the smoke rising from the exploded camper and the nearby tree burning and then as the camera continues to rise, it inexplicably turns upside down and focuses on the sea. What does this mean? Has the wrong been righted, has the world been turned upside down or has it ben corrected? It is up to the viewer of the film to supply the answer to these questions.

Video

Presented in the film's original theatrical ratio of 2.40:1 mastered in HD 1080p 24/fps using AVC MPEG-4 compression, the entire film has great clarity and precise imagery, with scenes shot indoors and out, both are skillfully set up and cinematographer Rainer Klausmann has a great eye for set ups and detail.

Audio

Two audio tracks are included in English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 surround and German DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 surround. The disc offers you the choice between the original German or an English dubbed version and both are presented in lossless quality. The sound quality is very good with both a wide variety of sound environments being utilized; quiet in the indoor courtroom scenes and the business of the street activity outside of Nuri’s office. The score is very good as well. Optional subtitles are included in English, English for the hearing impaired, and Spanish.

Extras

Magnolia has released this film with a number of extras included.

"Behind In the Fade: The Story" (1:30), is an introduction to the story material with Kruger and Akin, in German with English subtitles.

"Behind In the Fade: Diane Kruger and Writer/Director Fatih Akin" (1:39) featurette, Akin and Kruger again, speaking about their collaboration, with some input from additional cast members, in German with English subtitles.

"Behind In the Fade: Cannes" (1:39) featurette at the film festival in France, in German with English subtitles.

"Inside In the Fade with Writer/Director Fatih Akin: Diane Kruger" (0:44), a promo spot, in German with English subtitles.

"Inside In the Fade with Writer/Director Fatih Akin: Denis Moschitto" (0:52), another promo spot, in German with English subtitles.

Interview with Diane Kruger, (3:52), interviewed in English, the actress discusses her return to her homeland after a 25-year absence, her preparation for the role of Katja, her working relationship with the director.

Interview with Writer/Director Fatih Akin, (8:10), a little more substance here than the previous segments, the director discusses the inspiration for the story and discusses details of working with Kruger.

Theatrical trailer, (2:07), In German with English subtitles.

Also from Magnolia Home Entertainment are bonus trailers for:

- "Please Stand By"
- "The Final Year"
- "The Square"
- "Blade of the Immortal"

Packaging

Packaged in a standard Blu-ray keep case with artwork.

Overall

"In the Fade" is an interesting and gritty look at life in today’s world of terroristic acts and senseless violence.

The Film: A Video: A Audio: A Extras: A Overall: A

 


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