Fascism is on the rise in the world. It’s easy living on this continent to forget that it’s happening elsewhere. In The Fade isn’t directly about the resurgence of Nazism, but those themes never the less play an important part in this story of family, justice, and revenge.
In The Fade begins with Katja (Diane Kruger) marrying Nuri (Human Acar), a Turkish born Kurd who is still in prison for dealing drugs. The film then jumps ahead to several years later when they are living a happy crime free life with their young son. Katja leaves the boy with Nuri while she goes to visit her pregnant sister and hours later returns to find that an explosion has rocked the neighbourhood where Nuri’s office is.
What follows is a story in three parts, each dealing with a portion of the aftermath of this terrorist attack. The first chapter sees a Katja dealing with everything from having her life turned upside down by the police as they investigate the victim and not the crime to dealing with her not so casually racist mother, becoming more and more of a wreck as things progress. The second follows the court case after they have caught the bombers with Katja still a mess but desperately clinging to the trial for some measure of closure, and the third deals with things that are spoilers so I won’t talk about them.
What I can tell you is that Diane Kruger is magnificent in this movie. She has already won best actress at Cannes this year for this performance and the film itself is the official German selection for the best foreign language Oscar, so she’s probably set for a bunch of nominations. In them first two acts in particular where she is a grief-stricken wreck and a grief-stricken but rigorously angry at the same time. There’s one scene in particular she is in the courtroom as a witness is reading off the wounds that her son sustained in the explosion in unemotional but extremely precise detail and the camera just lingers on her face as she bears as much as that as she can.
In time it’s made clear that the bombers are white nationalists and that they almost certainly did it, but they also trot out a manufactured alibi and pick apart the evidence as best they can and I won’t spoil it but I am sure you can figure out where things are going.
So here’s the thing. This is a good movie but despite a career performance from Kruger I didn’t really think it was a great one. It’s solid, but it feels like the kind of movie that someone in Hollywood is going to remake with a huge budget, an all-star cast, and an auteur director to much critical acclaim. My main hope when this happens is that they ask Diane Kruger back to star in that one, too. Until that happens this one is definitely worth your time, and then you’ll be able to say that you’ve seen the original when it does.