The Zone of Interest Movie Review

Unnerving and fascinating in equal parts, The Zone of Interest provides an insider view of Nazi life never seen before in movie form. Writer/director Jonathan Glazer tackles the real-life subject of Rudolf Höss (Christian Friedel) who was the commandant of the Auschwitz concentration camp from May 1940 until November 1943 and then again from May 1944 until January 1945.

During his tenure there, an estimated 3,000,000 victims were executed or succumbed to starvation and disease. The truly chilling aspect of the film is the focus on his home and family life and how mundane that life was outside his work. The almost complete lack of a soundtrack score (other than some electronic noise design to create unease) never lets you hide in the anonymity of a wall of sound either.



Höss and his family lived in an idyllic setting of a home and plush garden directly attached to the corner of the camp. Often the only visual clue of the location are the smoke stacks continuously belching out the smoke from the incinerators. Few connecting scenes show Höss at work but one in particular is repugnant and shocking. He stands stoically overlooking the camp while he gets enveloped in the smoke created by the burning of dead human flesh.

This is a work that will sear itself into your consciousness. Even though the film’s pace is languid and no overt violence is shown, you can remember almost every detail of every scene with crystal clarity long after the final credits roll. It is not an easy work to experience or even to digest (on many levels) but like all valid art, it is important and worthy of the attention and effort.
Rob Hudson