Labyrinth of Lies (8/10)
by Tony Medley
Runtime 123 minutes.
OK for children.
It might be hard to believe now, with all of this so far in the past,
but it took a long time for those SS monsters responsible for what
happened at Auschwitz to be brought to justice. In fact, according to
this truthful movie, it wasn’t until 1958 that someone started to look
into what happened a decade and a half prior.
While based on a background of true events, the protagonist, Johann
Radman (Alexander Fehling) is a composite of three public prosecutors
who went after the Nazis who ran Auschwitz. Prosecutor General Fritz
Bauer (Gert Voss, who died on July 13, 2014) and journalist Thomas
Gnielka (André Szymski) are real people who did exist and did
participate in the events shown.
Radman, a young, inexperienced prosecutor who spends his time in traffic
court, is approached by Gnielka with a story and a victim. Radman takes
it to Bauer who tells him to proceed, but warns him that he’s getting
into a labyrinth and not to “lose his life” in it. But it’s not as easy
as it might seem. There is a lot of denial in Germany and lots of people
who don’t want to raise ghosts from the past, plus the German political
hierarchy is permeated with former Nazis and SS, who obviously don’t
want any investigation into what went on at Auschwitz or anybody
While investigating, he comes across the gruesome crimes of Dr. Joseph
Mengele, which is covered in a B story.
Even though people now know about Auschwitz and the people who
facilitated it, the trials that Radman brings about here are still
largely unknown, unlike the Nuremburg trials.
Because this is basically a fictitious story based on true events, it’s
not a documentary. But it is fine movie-making and educates the public
on an important event in Germany’s history. Says writer/director Giulio
Ricciarelle, “This struggle, the pain and the beauty of this struggle –
this is the core of this movie.” In German but the subtitles are
white and when white on white are difficult to read.