The Last of the Unjust

The Last of the Unjust Image
Metascore
80

Generally favorable reviews - based on 18 Critics What's this?

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  • Summary: A place: Theresienstadt. A unique place of propaganda which Adolf Eichmann called the "model ghetto", designed to mislead the world and Jewish people regarding its real nature, to be the last step before the gas chamber. A man: Benjamin Murmelstein, last president of the TheresienstadtA place: Theresienstadt. A unique place of propaganda which Adolf Eichmann called the "model ghetto", designed to mislead the world and Jewish people regarding its real nature, to be the last step before the gas chamber. A man: Benjamin Murmelstein, last president of the Theresienstadt Jewish Council, a fallen hero condemned to exile, who was forced to negotiate day after day from 1938 until the end of the war with Eichmann, to whose trial Murmelstein wasn't even called to testify. Even though he was without a doubt the one who knew the Nazi executioner best. More than twenty-five years after Shoah, Claude Lanzmann's new film reveals a little-known yet fundamental aspect of the Holocaust, and sheds light on the origins of the "Final Solution" like never before. Expand
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Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 16 out of 18
  2. Negative: 0 out of 18
  1. Reviewed by: D.W. Mault
    Jan 8, 2015
    100
    The running time (like all Lanzmann's films) is not oppressive but allows for Murmelstein and his interlocutor to talk through, around and inside the context and reality of pragmatism, egoism, heroism and evil.
  2. Reviewed by: Ben Kenigsberg
    Feb 5, 2014
    91
    The Last Of The Unjust is demanding but fascinating, both as history and as an intellectual volley on the lure of power, the ambiguities of perspective, and the difficulty of claiming moral high ground in a context where matters of life and death are so precarious.
  3. Reviewed by: Ella Taylor
    Feb 7, 2014
    90
    Murmelstein died in Rome in 1989, and having witnessed the terrible dilemmas he suffered and the mass rescues he pulled off, we can only be glad that he escaped the snap judgments of the social-media age.
  4. Reviewed by: Joshua Rothkopf
    Feb 4, 2014
    80
    Lanzmann’s feisty exchanges with Murmelstein, a brilliant talker, become an emotional symbol for the pursuit of slippery truth, while the filmmaker’s recently shot footage of Yom Kippur services show a way of life in robust continuation.
  5. Reviewed by: Farran Smith Nehme
    Feb 6, 2014
    75
    Lanzmann, for his part, begins the interview with a sharp, probing manner; by the end, the filmmaker’s questions and body language are conveying something altogether different.
  6. 70
    The Murmelstein interview didn’t make it into Shoah, and Lanzmann sat on it, saying in a written prologue that he finally decided he had “no right to keep it to himself.” I wish he’d brought it out in Murmelstein’s lifetime. (The rabbi died in 1989.) He deserved the chance to be heard by the people who hated him most — who probably still would hate him but come away with ­respect.
  7. Reviewed by: Mike D'Angelo
    Feb 5, 2014
    50
    It’s a valuable historical document, to be sure; as a movie, however, it’s a dry, grueling experience, lacking Shoah’s monumental grandeur.

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