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Review: In The Fade carried by Diane Kruger's intense performance

PUBLISHED: 08:31 29 June 2018 | UPDATED: 08:31 29 June 2018

Rafael Santana as Rocco Sekerci and Diane Kruger as Katja Sekerci in In The Fade. Photo: Warner Bros/Curzon Artificial Eye

Rafael Santana as Rocco Sekerci and Diane Kruger as Katja Sekerci in In The Fade. Photo: Warner Bros/Curzon Artificial Eye

Archant

A mother's courage is warped by grief and righteous indignation in Fatih Akin's award-winning drama, which marries on-screen inner turmoil with a powerful score composed by Queens Of The Stone Age front man Josh Homme.

Diane Kruger as Katja Sekerci in In The Fade. Photo: Warner Bros/Curzon Artificial EyeDiane Kruger as Katja Sekerci in In The Fade. Photo: Warner Bros/Curzon Artificial Eye

In The Fade (18)

***

A perfectly executed tragic drama about grief, justice and bigotry, writer-director Fatih Akin’s award-winning film about messy, ugly emotions that is perhaps a little bit too neat and tidy.

After a bomb attack decimates her family Katja (Diane Kruger) has to try and deal with her numb grief. Sympathy is strained because her late husband was a reformed drug dealer that she married while he was in prison, and Turkish. Neither side of the family can quite put aside their disapproval of their union during the mourning, and the police immediately angle their investigation into looking for a former underworld associate looking for revenge.

The film rests entirely on Kruger’s shoulders and she carries it lightly. Her initial exclamation of grief is a harrowing, primal yell, something that seems ripped from raw emotion and real human experience, rather than the culmination of years of endless acting exercises. She was well worth her best actress award at Cannes, though the whole cast is top notch.

After its devastating opening third, set in a Hamburg where it is perpetually raining, the film needs to reveal where it is heading and its destination unfortunately is a courtroom drama.

Diane Kruger as Katja Sekerci and 
Numan Acar as Nuri Sekerci Rafael Santana as Rocco Sekerci  in In The Fade. Photo: Warner Bros/Curzon Artificial EyeDiane Kruger as Katja Sekerci and Numan Acar as Nuri Sekerci Rafael Santana as Rocco Sekerci in In The Fade. Photo: Warner Bros/Curzon Artificial Eye

I never really welcome the arrival of a courtroom in a movie narrative but at least this time attention is held by the oddities of the German legal system. There’s no jury, a group of five judges oversee everything and the witnesses give their testimony with their back to the court, so they have to crane their head round to answer any questions and the barristers seem to be able to interject at any time. It’s all bizarrely inefficient. Is this really how the German courtrooms work?

Everything else in this film is so organised and in its place. It’s top level filmmaking but there is something distancing about the way it works its way through the tragedy gears. It’s like the kind of “issue” drama that ITV might run over consecutive nights at 9pm, but much better.

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