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Stars: Viggo Mortensen, Jason Isaacs, Jodie Whittaker, Gemma Jones, Gemma Jones, Steven Mackintosh, Anastasia Hille, Mark Strong, Ruth Gemmell

Director: Vicente Amorim

Another look at Naziism and the Holocaust, centring on a change-of-pace performance from Mortensen (looking strangely like a younger David McCallum from TV's NCIS) as Halder, a bespectacled professor of literature with an ailing and demanding mother (Jones) and a mad, piano-playing wife (Hille) who leaves all the chores and cooking to him.

His best friend is the psychoanalyst Glickstein (Isaacs), whose Jewishness is already beginning to affect his life in Germany when the story opens in the spring of 1933, as we hear Halder saying to Glickstein: 'Don't worry. Hitler's a joke. He'll never last.'

Seduced by a student, Anne (Whittaker), whom he marries, Halder is reluctantly drawn into the machinations of the Party, although he still tries - and fails - to get Glickstein out of the country when the latter becomes desperate to leave.

Mortensen's quiet, understated portrayal is well thought out, but, like the film, it's not exactly gripping. The screenplay is fraught with edgy improbabilities - would Halder really make love to Anne while his wife and children were in bed upstairs? - and the climax in 1942, though touching, nonetheless has an anti-climactic feel.

David Quinlan

UK/Brazil/Hungary 2007. UK Distributor: Lionsgate. Technicolor.
95 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: 15.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 0, Violence/Horror 1, Drugs 0, Swearing 2.

Review date: 14 Apr 2009