#TIFF23: “THE ZONE OF INTEREST” REVIEW
By Nicholas Porteous
In Jonathan Glazer‘s The Zone of Interest, we experience domestic life through the eyes of a wealthy Nazi family located just outside the perimeter of the Auschwitz concentration camp. This is a revelatory new entry into the already crowded field of agonizingly great movies about the holocaust, but the thing that pushes Zone past the line of excellent storytelling and into the realm of real profundity is not so much what Glazer shows us. It’s what he leaves out.
Zone revolves around humanity’s penchant for ignoring pain–particularly when it yields privilege and profit. The Hoss family live a seemingly idyllic life. They have a pool, a house staff, and a never-ending supply of gifts–jewelry, clothing, toys–brought home from work. The only catch is the neighborhood, which is intermittently filled with cries of agony, gun fire, and smoke. And yet they’re like most families: a father at the office all day, a mother tending to her wonderful garden, children playing games with toy soldiers. There’s romance, and the ambition for something a little better. All against a backdrop of pure evil, but no one seems to notice.
Glazer probes the cold organization and engineering prowess needed to carry out a genocide with an equally exacting aesthetic. Every angle is solid as concrete. The sound design is excruciatingly immersive. The performances are sharp and vivid. But the real star here is Glazer‘s uncompromising vision–muted, yet louder than a foghorn.
Zone is a needed, painfully resonant analogue for willful ignorance in the face of injustice–historical or otherwise, and like any great piece of Cinema, it must be experienced to be understood.
The Zone of Interest screens at TIFF ’23:
Sunday, September 10th at 8:30PM at The Royal Alexandria Theatre
Monday, September 11th at 8:45PM at Scotiabank Theatre Toronto