In the Fade
2017, R, 106 min. Directed by Fatih Akin. Starring Diane Kruger, Denis Moschitto, Johannes Krisch, Ulrich Tukur, Samia Chancrin, Numan Acar.
REVIEWED By Josh Kupecki, Fri., Jan. 26, 2018
The camera never veers too far away from Diane Kruger’s face in Fatih Akin’s riveting new film In the Fade. The loss and the grief of a woman who is descending into madness following a catastrophic loss is palpable in nearly every frame of this German export. Kruger is Katja, wife to a Turkish man, Nuri (Acar), and mother to their son, both of whom perish in a bomb attack at the start of the film. There is a numbness of loss that resonates throughout the film’s subsequent revenge narrative that deepens and heightens the material to depict a portrait of a person who literally has nothing to live for.
In a ripped-from-the headlines plot that unfortunately seems to be the de rigueur at this point in time, reeling from the tragedy, Katja self-medicates as she is thrown into the German legal system where the two defendants – a young neo-Nazi couple – end up being acquitted of the murders due to minor disparities in the evidence and Katja’s drug use.
What director Akin does with the revenge angle is striking and heartbreaking and everything hinges on Kruger’s fearless performance, which oscillates between total breakdown and a coldly determined resolve. The film is determinedly oblique when it comes to redemption, and that is to its credit. A bleakly prescient look at how the world we live in defines us, In the Fade is itself the homemade bomb of nails and fertilizer, one that will leave you shaken and stirred.