Phoenix shows what war does to people, how it destroys and mutilates not just bodies but identities, transforms or even reveals them. Nelly and Johnny play a game of identities and truths, where the one tries to revive the past by denying the obvious and the other to overcome it and use it for his personal advantage. I was screaming for a revenge, but the last scene exceeded all my expectations.
This film was set after the horrific incident in World War 2 when Nelly Lenz, a singer, returns to Berlin. She goes back to find her husband has betrayed her for the Nazis after she had just gone through intense plastic surgery after getting a bullet to the face. The use of language in this film played an important role in making this movie interesting to watch. The movie kept me engaged and I would recommend it.
I am new to curated film and have limited experience in film criticism but I am not new to life or emotion or love or despair or hate. I may be a expert still learning. Phoenix in Christian Petzold's hands is a useful tool for me as I continue to wake up each morning and start again.
Whereas Barbara's heft is hesitant and almost postscript, Petzold's choices here create a vehicle for the character. With such complication established from the beginning, momentum is almost inevitable. Nina Hoss is captivating throughout, ironies bouncing behind her broken eyes. All the pain can be felt when we look at her, which makes the ending charade all the more appalling. In due time, she rises.
Difficult to watch Nelly debase herself by plaintively longing to be recognized by her rotten husband (though her need for his love makes sense in the context of the film). Occasionally find the husband particularly dense in recognizing body language, though I suppose he's blocked it out along with his betrayal. Lene's demise feels slightly pat, as though she served her purpose and is unnecessary anymore.