"The Statement" deserves far better ratings than critics have given it. In the first place, it's NOT about an ex-Nazi in flight. It's about a French collaborator, the Vichy Government, France's failure to confront the role its officials -- some still in power -- played in the Holocaust, and the efforts of right wingers in the Catholic Church to shelter the collaborator. Michael Caine is superb in the leading role, and Tilda Swinton and Jeremy Northam are excellent as the judge and army colonel who are trying to bring him to justice while those who formerly hid him seek to execute him, blaming a non-existent group of Jewish vigilantes. The supporting cast, which includes the wonderful Charlotte Rampling in a minor role as the collaborator's undivorced wife, is also quite good. I don't see how anyone can complain that this movie "drags." While there are legitimate criticisms that could be made about unexplained motives, the action moves at the appropriate pace given the complexity of the story it is telling.
Drama / Thriller
Drama / Thriller
1992. The French government has passed a law punishing crimes against humanity allowing them to prosecute Nazi collaborators from WWII. Magistrate Annemarie Livi has been assigned the case of Pierre Brossard, a police officer in Dombey, France in June, 1944, when he helped round up a group of Jewish persons and personally chose seven of them to be executed. Brossard was captured and held in police custody in 1955 following a trial where he was sentenced to death for being a collaborator, before he was able to escape. Brossard has since received a Presidential pardon for those crimes. Livi enlists the help of Colonel Roux of the French Army to assist in this case in she not trusting the police who assisted the Vichy regime during the war. While Roux informs her that he is aware of an unknown Jewish organization that is also tracking and wanting to execute Brossard, Livi knows that the pardon was arranged by someone who must have been an associate of Brossard - who she refers to as "The Old Man" - now probably high up in the government. They are also both aware that the Catholic church has actively been assisting Brossard all these years, probably in providing him both with funds and shelter, them being able to break through the closed ranks of the church a major hurdle they will have to overcome. Livi is further given a warning by a close family friend, Armand Bertier, a government minster, that she is walking into a land mine of a case. Brossard, who is aware that he is being tracked both by the Jewish and by the national authorities, is indeed what he considers a devout Catholic in the realm of the traditionalists, he, who trying to stay one step ahead of those tracking him, looking for absolution from the church, while not prepared to give himself up to either the Jewish or the authorities. The Jewish have their own additional motive beyond killing Brossard for his crimes, while those pulling their strings have one more additional motive in protecting themselves.
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