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Son of Saul
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Son of Saul

2015
Drama
War
1h 47m
In the horror of 1944 Auschwitz, a prisoner forced to burn the corpses of his own people finds moral survival upon trying to salvage from the flames the body of a boy he takes for his son.
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Son of Saul

2015
Drama
War
1h 47m
Your probable score
Avg Percentile 65.66% from 1097 total ratings

Ratings & Reviews

(1096)
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Rated 24 Feb 2016
80
86th
A towering achievement on a technical and artistic level. By staying close to Saul, and by letting only those of the many harrowing events around him that penetrate his foggy, disbelieving mind, first-time director Nemes protects us from some of the horrors while simultaneously drawing us into an uncomfortably visceral (but perhaps inappropriately entertaining?) experience. The story isn't new (Tim Blake Nelson depicted the work of the Sonderkomando in 'The Grey Zone'), but the approach sure is.
Rated 28 Apr 2016
80
77th
"Okay and cut - *naked extras get up and pull cellphones out of their butts*
Rated 07 Apr 2016
30
12th
Beyond the most general imperative to "never forget", what is the motive that would justify this work of utter fiction? Nothing good comes to mind. The theme of a man's concern for the religious dignity of individual death was aestheticised, false and absurdly unbelievable. The filmmakers completely failed to take the measure of, for instance, the work of Primo Levi, or to come to terms with the existential meaning of the Sonderkommando, or the Holocaust event in general. This IS forgetting.
Rated 11 Mar 2016
80
77th
I've seldom felt as uncomfortable watching a film. It's nearly a masterpiece and I don't want to see it ever again.
Rated 20 Dec 2015
83
93rd
The closest any narrative film has ever come to a realistic depiction of a death camp. Even Claude Lanzmann praised this. The father-son theme makes this a fitting answer to that piece of garbage by Benigni. Aided by incredibly crafty camerawork by Erdély and great sound design, Nemes glues us to his protagonist and mostly just alludes to the unspeakability of what surrounds him. The film's density is a notable flaw, as the timeframe doesn't plausibly allow for everything we get to see.
Rated 23 May 2016
30
18th
I didn't find anything enjoyable or entertaining about this hopeless movie. It seemed as pointless as its monotonous rehash of death camp atrocities. A man stripped of his dignity clings to the pursuit of burying a dead boy as if it were his own son. His escape with the corpse & a Rabbi was a victory over his horrible captors. I am sick & tired of pointless Nazi atrocity movies. The ending was as pathetic as everything that preceded it. Shock value aside, this movie is hollow.
Rated 23 Nov 2015
6
34th
Far more interesting in its execution than its actual narrative, eschewing any direct depiction of the Final Solution in favour of one man's increasingly frustrating mission. Let's just say I find a father's determination of protecting his child's innocence from the atrocities of the war (La vita è bella) to be far more noble and compelling than giving the body of a total stranger a proper burial, especially when one places both his own life and the lives of his fellow inmates in jeopardy.
Rated 12 Sep 2015
80
65th
The dourness is overwhelming, which it should be considering the subject matter. It's very much about one man's mental disintegration at the hands of the Holocaust. It is draining, and while it doesn't hold the audience's hand, it could use some tightening.
Rated 02 Oct 2015
85
88th
It was a "pure" cinematic experience and great example of how German death-camps (factories) work. Those longs shots and camera usage create great atmosphere with focusing on "one man fight" and also with that it differs from any other holocaust movie. Most probably best film of the year and impressive début for Nemes
Rated 08 Apr 2016
40
17th
Great filmmaking ruined by an idiotic premise. A man in Auschwitz putting himself and everyone around him in mortal danger to find a rabbi in order to bury some random dead kid is beyond absurd. After a while I was willing Saul to do everyone a favour and just catch a bullet. You'd think he'd have more important things to worry about but no, Saul (or 'that daft twat' as I came to think of him) carries on with his nitwit plan to the bitter end. Such a waste.
Rated 04 Oct 2015
90
91st
From the beginning to the end wonderful storytelling. What a debut from Nemes! Congragulations to Hungary for Foreign Language Film Oscar ;)
Rated 09 Oct 2015
85
88th
Apart from being an almost perfect model for "hell" in the literal sense with the help of long shots and a concentration on the protagonist to follow his psychological demise step-by-step, I think the film is about the brittleness and naivety of human soul (because Saul creates his own hope and belief instead of resisting with the others) which makes this piece a very humanist account despite the formal indifference which avoids sentimental bullshit. Can easliy named "Come and See" Vol. 2
Rated 27 Jan 2016
85
59th
Agonizing, but completely necessary. Normally, I would resent a movie that consists of nothing but close-ups, but it totally works here. There's something so terrifying about knowing that these atrocities are occurring out of the camera's focus, or maybe just off-screen. This is intense, personal cinema. Unfortunately, the initial charge of terror that this brings does wear itself down by the end of the film, but when it's good, it's chillingly good.
Rated 19 Aug 2018
88
88th
Even with so many WWII movies, Son of Saul has a fresh perspective and is an emotional powerhouse. The actual narrative isn't very strong and the only real character we get is Saul and even he isn't fleshed out well, but also no attempt to do so is made. This is an experiential film and a lot is owed to the marvelous cinematography. Seeing events as horrible as these happen plainly in the corner of the frame or out of focus over Saul's shoulder is strongly affecting in its enhanced realism.
Rated 11 Sep 2016
80
73rd
Son of Saul's harrowing and chaotic film-making is truly impressive, but the shockingly unbelievable motivations of the protagonist brought me out of the otherwise realistic depiction of the death camp. I'm excited to see what comes next from Nemes, but the discrepancy I felt between the narrative and the aesthetics was disappointing.
Rated 06 Dec 2015
82
95th
Telling the horror of Holocaust in a new cinematic language is an impressive achievement. Creating a perfectly balanced ending is genius.
Rated 11 Mar 2016
93
95th
Son of Saul creates it's own universe in which the rules of the world have no value, in which life & death are no categories. Ausschwitz is not a matter of survival. The camera never puts things in perspective. Everything you absorb is sound. Guns, fire, gas, orders, screams, Hungarian, German, hell. Sound as pure sentiment. No escape! For viewers and prisoners alike. We are blessed to leave this place. Something I wished for three minutes into the movie. And I'm scared to ever go back.
Rated 05 May 2016
87
94th
An emotional juggernaut that manages to be superbly innovative and dignified and relevant without taking a single step up itself. The staggeringly cohesive mix of horrific dehumanising setting and artistic visual style somewhat reminded me of 12 Years a Slave, only without a comical redemption by Brad Pitt.
Rated 27 Jan 2019
90
94th
What can you say about a film like this, about a subject like this. It's simply incredible.
Rated 23 Jan 2016
74
71st
The technical concept of the film - all in shallow focus - was riveting when it worked but too often it felt like it was drifting to other parts of the set and other characters and what was so special about watching Saul through his journey was slightly lost. Still, a wrenching film with a very strong lead performance.
Rated 28 May 2016
85
79th
Formally pretty interesting, using a technique that brings this subject matter to light in a unique fashion. Saul's head is down, and as the camera is largely focused on Saul in tight close-ups, the horrors around him tend to be blurred and left largely to the imagination. And yet, we see just enough to evoke those things we already know to be true. The story feels a bit undercooked, particularly in its reliance on excessive plotting.
Rated 21 May 2016
70
70th
A depiction that begins in clinical, cynical mode and becomes every more Dante-like later on. I saw it more as a study of an SK's mental trauma and breakdown than a quest for moral redemption. The framing is effective but the audio is also well thought out, with the sound of burning rarely far away. Any more immersive and you would surely think you could smell it, so sickening is the experience. Only quibble is the decision to render the victims' broken German in perfect English subtitles.
Rated 30 Jun 2016
8
92nd
A claustrophobic , thoughtful and haunting film.
Rated 23 Feb 2016
87
80th
A Sondarkommando at Auschwitz (Géza Röhrig) becomes fixated on giving a proper burial to the body of a boy whom he claims as his son. A fresh angle on the Holocaust drama, with the camera rarely straying away from our protagonist, and the horrors of the camp generally kept in the background. Grueling viewing, at times lacking in momentum, but accumulating power until the painfully visceral final act. Röhrig is excellent; László Nemes' direction could hardly be better. Superior sound design,
Rated 17 Mar 2016
65
24th
I don't know about you, but I thought the general conceit that underlies this entire film was really mawkish, with a hard-going cinema verite style trying to subdue this sentimentality. For me, this film seems to be reliant on spirituality, but portrays itself very materialistically, which is very at odds. Harrowing at times, of course, but I'm not a fan of broccoli, let alone cinema broccoli.
Rated 06 May 2016
48
17th
A powerful story that feels personal and intense but with enough flaws too make it an unengaging experience at times.
Rated 15 May 2016
5
7th
So that's why It was so inevitable to see to it that the Son of Saul gets properly buried!!
Rated 04 Jun 2016
84
94th
01:35:20
Rated 03 Mar 2017
84
87th
An intensely claustrophobic, harrowing, chaotic, disorienting, visceral, affecting, brutal, bleak, and utterly brilliant depiction of the depths of human dedication. Phenomenal cinematography and sound design in what is arguably as much a horror film as it is anything else. One of the most single uncomfortable viewing experiences I've had, it's an experience few viewers will forget; it's also an experience few viewers will want to revisit. Brutal, brutal, brutal filmmaking.
Rated 08 Apr 2016
50
38th
I think the idea is to give one proper burial to somebody, even if it is not to his biological son; to have one proper human, civil action of significance to the Jewish culture, so that their souls may be at peace. But what to make of the film's aesthetic I don't know. My instinct is that it lacks the dignity Saul searches for.
Rated 18 Nov 2015
100
92nd
Son of Saul gets lots of details right. Where I exactly stand on the film I'm not sure. Part of me seems uncomfortable from aesthetically enjoying a film about something so massively deplorable, a near-ungraspable horror. On one side following a cog in the machine of death that was the concentration camps makes it palpable, yet it never captured any of it with the power of some of the stories in Shoah. a113er- https://redd.it/4h95dc
Rated 23 Mar 2016
80
80th
Make sure to fully immerse yourself while watching Son of Saul. Turn up the sound, turn off all your devices, and watch on as big a screen as possible.
Rated 13 May 2016
23
19th
I had a hard time rating this movie. It was... interestingly done. It did a great job conveying a dark mood. I'm not sure about the meaning of the plot. But it was intriguing.
Rated 17 May 2016
79
66th
A grim, harrowing and intense experience. The photography is excellent, even if the proximity of the camera and all round noise are nightmarishly claustrophobic. Narratively the film is a hard sell, as it keeps you in the dark so much about characters, surroundings, and what is going on. Very unpredictable. That's the main reason I can't score higher. But it's a daring, important film, which feels a little like being trapped in a Hieronymous Bosch painting. Confusing, gritty, and uncomfortable.
Rated 29 Jan 2016
44
19th
Sub-Dardennes WWII film.
Rated 25 Feb 2016
70
35th
24 Febrer 2016 - Em semblava una mica confús el que feia el personatge,no l'entenia, tot i que el director ho volgués. I el final tampoc no l'he entès gaire. Està ben fet.
Rated 30 Apr 2016
90
85th
A constant string of low-key atrocities as Saul moves through life at Auschwitz trying to accomplish the simple task of burying his "son." Fascinating in that I didn't really know about the Jewish prisoners forced to take on this task. Absolutely terrifying and depressing that this is a thing that actually happened. Makes for a bizarre double feature with Looks Who's Back.
Rated 31 Oct 2016
80
78th
Tough to watch. In part because of the subject matter being not just set in a concentration camp, but also with the extreme work being done by characters we are watching. Also the way it is shot is so focused on Saul the intensity of the situation is made to feel more real. We don't feel so much like a 3rd party watching what is going on but someone that's right there.
Rated 06 Aug 2021
70
45th
7?
Rated 04 Jun 2022
72
64th
A very claustrophobic, powerful film! The way the camera sticks with Saul, the background often blurred, focuses the story on a single person, though glimpses of horror can be seen in the background most of the time. The only thing that bothered me about this movie was with some moments in the plot where it was just dragging or needed some suspension of disbelief.
Rated 28 Feb 2023
25
10th
TEST
Rated 12 Oct 2018
85
92nd
The struggle to maintain dignity in hell.
Rated 06 Apr 2019
60
35th
We have to make one Holocaust film every year, otherwise the world of cinema will collapse, OK?
Rated 27 Aug 2023
48
26th
Call of Duty: Auschwitz
Rated 30 Jan 2024
50
33rd
Despite all the fairly impressive long takes and solid performances, my biggest problem with this film is simply I did not care for what was going on the entire time. The close up camera felt gimmicky and it was pretty boring honestly.
Rated 01 Feb 2020
32
19th
Points for cinematography, but as brilliant as that was, it couldn't make up for the sheer lack of believability. Too many things got in the way of me really buying in to the story, unfortunately.
Rated 20 Apr 2021
57
59th
It's harrowing but at the same time, Saul's motivations and actions are so obtuse and unbelievable to detract majorly from the overall experience.
Rated 08 Jul 2016
2
31st
This did not work for me. I never felt compassion towards Saul or his inmates. I'll give it one extra point for taking a chance on the camerawork, but no thank you, I need much more to endure these WWII movies. *Okay
Rated 07 Oct 2015
85
92nd
Filmekimi - Feriye.
Rated 24 Apr 2024
75
64th
não me pegou tanto
Rated 12 Sep 2016
80
81st
yıpratılmış acılara bu kadar taze ve etkisini artırabilecek şekilde hala bakılabiliyor olması bir yandan umut verici bir şey, yeni nüanslı perspektiflere ulaşabilmek adına.
Rated 28 Feb 2016
22
0th
The character of Saul and his behavior were freaking annoying, which made it really difficult for me to relate to or sympathize with the whole story. I fell asleep and I'm not going to see this again.
Rated 03 Jan 2016
90
88th
An incredible movie..you watch a definition of human rights.
Rated 01 Oct 2016
3
36th
a thinly veiled argument as much as a film, endorsed by the likes of lanzmann and didi-hubermann for its striving toward present-tense dehistoricisation and implied understanding of its subject's unrepresentability. criticising the approach as anti-intellectual misses the point as it's knowingly so, but it remains only mildly successful due to a certain lack of gracefulness or originality; as with some of the dardennes' weaker efforts, the visibility of the strings undercuts its impact.
Rated 07 May 2016
95
99th
It's hard to describe what I'm feeling right after the film. But I can say it causes emotional pain. It's maybe the strongest film about a subject that must never be forgotten.
Rated 02 Oct 2017
96
89th
The most visceral and intense portrayal of concentration camps and the holocaust on cinema to date.
Rated 03 May 2016
50
22nd
I get what you were going for with keeping everything out of focus Mr. Clever Arty Sad Film Man, but don't ever pull that shit again.
Rated 26 May 2016
71
65th
I mean.. its interesting. Predictable but interesting.
Rated 06 Apr 2016
60
89th
Ever wanted to get an intimate feel of how it is to be in a Nazi concentration camp? Well, here is your chance! In László Nemes' Saul fia [Son of Saul] (2015) we follow closely a prisoner's life of conflict and mental torture. It's more a ambiance piece then a graphic account of the hell it is to be in a place like Auschwitz. You hear the screams, the pain, but we follow Saul so closely in a daze that it's sometimes difficult to make out the fear and politics of the life in bandage.
Rated 08 Jan 2017
7
81st
As with every Holocaust film, Son of Saul will stir complaints that cinema is too trivial to encompass such profound evil. But there's nothing trivial about this Hungarian masterwork from first-time director László Nemes. You don't merely witness horror, you feel it in your bones.
Rated 02 Oct 2016
87
69th
Great movie.
Rated 16 Apr 2017
33
4th
Son of a... Hungarian movies and I just don't get along. At least this movie wasn't a hundred hours long, but I'm getting a little tired of Holocaust movies. Schindler's List is impossible to beat and this movie just copied the over-the-shoulder camera angle from Birdman. I was glad that you could tell horrible things were happening but you didn't have to see them up close and personal like a Saw movie would do. The acting from Géza Röhrig was excellent...
Rated 29 Jun 2016
60
28th
Effective showing the "hell on earth" that surrounds the character meanwhile we follow him in his mad journey to find a rabbin -- and with him some human dignity, the Sacre, God. Clever using the out of focus, the 1.37:1 ratio and the close-ups to give us the feeling of imprisonament, self-preservation ego-centrism, desperation, escape from reality. But in the end yes, it's "an another film on holocaust". As Frederic_g54 says, "Far more interesting in its execution than its actual narrative".
Rated 07 Mar 2016
85
71st
Von Ferne kommt uns eine Gruppe aus dem Wald entgegen. In dem Moment, da sie fast im Rahmen der Kamera erscheinen, tritt ein Mann heraus. Ihm weicht die Kamera ab sofort nicht mehr von der Seite. Sie wird sich während des gesamten Films nur seiner Person annehmen. Alles andere verschwindet hinter ihm: Saul Ausländer... mehr auf cinegeek.de
Rated 06 Aug 2017
52
29th
Its painstaking accuracy is both its strength and weakness. It depicts the awfulness with honesty and brutality, but keeps the viewer at arm's length.

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