Encapsulated Movie Reviews – Four New Indie Titles

Encapsulated Movie ReviewsWhile big movies seem to be scraping the bottom of the low expectations barrel this week, there’s no shortage of surprising smaller film fare.  (How about that?!)  In any case we’re braving lawmen after SS officers, bodyguards with mental issues, disenchanted Jewish moms and even Harry Potter as an undercover skinhead to bring you the skinny on all things indie.  Check out the Encapsulated Movie Reviews of The People vs. Fritz BauerImperiumDisorder and A Tale of Love and Darkness below!

The People photo

(Cohen Media Group)

While we’ve seen the subject of people in power going after Nazi war criminals done to death, The People vs. Fritz Bauer story wise still feels fresh.  As the titular character, Burghart Klaußner creates a wonderfully complex lead who has not only harbors a myriad of ulterior motives in his focused crusade to capture Nazi leaders, but also has a ton of hidden inner turmoil that adds layers and layers of character complexity.  Not to mention that Director Lars Kraume knows how to tell the tale well, utilizing both chemistry between his actors (Bauer’s right hand man Ronald Zehrfeld and lady of the night Lilith Strangenberg have serious heat!) and a pitch perfect pacing to keep the story suspense at a proportionately heightened level.  An engrossingly rich yarn that’s flavored with tasty turns, Fritz Bauer man and movie prove memorable.


(Lionsgate Premiere)

Films about lawmen going undercover are a dime a dozen, but the ones that stand out focus on the fabricated relationships built within.  (See Deep Cover for confirmation!)  That’s where Daniel Radcliffe’s undercover skinhead flick comes to life and becomes more than another cinematic statistic.  Be it gaining confidence of suave and savvy white supremacists (Sam Trammell’s calm Klansman is the epitome of quiet creepy!) or the bond former between agent and superior (in this case an engaging Toni Collette!), Imperium and Director Daniel Ragussis have a firm grip on what makes this type of film stand out.  But the hidden gem here is definitely the work by Radcliffe who goes from buttoned down FBI introvert to brash Nazi with chameleon like assurance.  Harry Potter be damned – the magic here comes from great character work.

Disorder photo

(IFC Films)

As a film Disorder most assuredly walks the line between being a good and bad film.  In painting a pressure cooker portrait of a Special Forces gent back from war who must overcome his obvious inner and outer post-traumatic stress disorder all the while guarding a high profile family, the film carries a unique set of challenges.  On the one hand Director Alice Winocour works hard to keep the audience guessing – are the events unfolding real or merely in the head of Mattias Schoenaerts sweaty soldier of hire?  But in moving the story forward Winocour then reveals too much too soon and thus the impact of her end game is somewhat lessoned.  Though there are highlights (the ‘hands off’ chemistry between Schoenaerts and Diane Kruger is unlike any I’ve seen!) and the film ends and lingers exactly the way it should, but Disorder is not unlike its unpredictable lead character – likable but lost.

Tale photo

(Focus World)

This complex and sincerely dour film is a surprising choice as the debut feature of actor turned director Natalie Portman.  Not that she doesn’t act in the film (she plays a Jewish mom with a wealth of emotional problems) or have a connection with the material (Portman was born in the films’ setting of Jerusalem), but it’s frankly quite a heavy handed subject for a first time at bat.  Dabbling in a time at the end of the British Mandate for Palestine and the early years of the State of Israel, this tale of an old man recalling tough times as a child with his broken mother is a difficult row to hoe. Transitioning from harsh conditions to fake fantasy worlds (as told by Portman’s ailing mother looking to help her son escape), the film feels discombobulating and ultimately treads somewhere between monotonous and downright dull.  The only saving grace is the solid visual style that Portman produces showing with the right material she could be a decent director.  But sadly no matter how well put together A Tale of Love and Darkness may look on the outside, inside it’s a mess.

The People poster

Imperium poster

Disorder poster

Tale poster


I'm a passionate and opinionated film critic/movie journalist with over 20 years of experience in writing about film - now exclusively for WhySoBlu.com. Previous sites include nine years at Starpulse.com where I created Forgotten Friday Flick back in 2011, before that as Senior Entertainment Editor for The213.net and 213 Magazine, as well as a staff writer for JoBlo.com. My other love is doing cool events for the regular guy with my company Flicks For Fans alongside my friend, partner and Joblo.com writer James "Jimmy O" Oster. Check us out at www.Facebook.com/FlicksForFans.

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