Free cookie consent management tool by TermsFeed Jump directly to main content

The Crack Magazine

the zone of interest.jpeg

The Zone of Interest

Director: Jonathan Glazer

Stars: Sandra Hüller, Christian Friedel

Like his previous book adaptation ‘Under the Skin’, director Jonathan Glazer’s adaptation of the 2014 Martin Amis novel strips away most of the narrative, as well as Amis’s dark humour, for a stark and rigidly formalist depiction of the life of concentration camp commandant Rudolf Höss (Friedel), his wife Hedwig (Hüller) and their five children. The title refers to the twenty-five-mile area surrounding the Polish camp Auschwitz. The family’s quaint bucolic home, replete with a greenhouse and vegetable patches, is positioned right next to the camp behind a huge wall where the ominous clank and rumble of machinery, as well as cries and gunfire, can be heard. For Hedwig, who did not like living in the city, the house is idyllic. Occasionally, undeniable reality seeps into their lives, most notably during a hastily abandoned family fishing trip where evidence of the extermination is encountered. Höss also attends meeting with high-ranking officers where the bureaucratic language and technical jargon belies the atrocities being carried out. Indeed, the family’s bourgeois existence is entirely dependent on consciously ignoring the abject horror that is taking place just over the wall. This is more austere mood piece than traditional narrative, the deeply unsettling atmosphere bolstered by Mica Levi’s dread-inducing score which ranges from ambient choral work to belligerent booming horns.

David Willoughby

Follow David on Twitter @DWill_Crackfilm