The Last of the Unjust Image
Metascore
78

Generally favorable reviews - based on 17 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 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. Collapse
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 15 out of 17
  2. Negative: 0 out of 17
  1. Reviewed by: Peter Rainer
    Feb 14, 2014
    100
    There is no need for Murmelstein to break down here. In The Last of the Unjust, it’s as if the whole world is weeping.
  2. Reviewed by: A.O. Scott
    Feb 6, 2014
    90
    “Shoah” remains a heroic reckoning with the limits of collective understanding, but The Last of the Unjust is something smaller, stranger and more paradoxical: the portrait of an individual whose actions still defy comprehension, and the self-portrait of an artist consumed by the past.
  3. Reviewed by: Joe Morgenstern
    Feb 13, 2014
    90
    The new film may not qualify for masterpiece status, but it's an enthralling portrait of a man — an exceptionally brilliant and articulate man — who personified the courage, complexity and moral ambiguity of his tortured time.
  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.

See all 17 Critic Reviews

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  2. Mixed: 0 out of
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