Magnolia Pictures | Release Date: December 27, 2017
7.4
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Generally favorable reviews based on 25 Ratings
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8
Brent_MarchantJan 26, 2018
A suspenseful yet emotive German thriller about a widowed wife and mother seeking the truth behind the deaths of her husband and young son in an apparent terrorist attack. In this search for justice, the protagonist must question her motivesA suspenseful yet emotive German thriller about a widowed wife and mother seeking the truth behind the deaths of her husband and young son in an apparent terrorist attack. In this search for justice, the protagonist must question her motives to determine whether it truly is justice or vengeance that she wants, an eye-opening experience that tells her as much about herself as the crime in question. Diane Kruger gives an impressive performance as a woman on a mission who must also deal with the pain of loss, an intriguing combination of elements to be sure. Well worth your time. Expand
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7
AproxxAug 4, 2018
1st Act: Emotion. This is the act were the toughest things happen. This is were Diane Kruger acts the freaking hell out of this movie. Not that she's bad after, but if you aren't convinced about her performance here, I don't know what to tell1st Act: Emotion. This is the act were the toughest things happen. This is were Diane Kruger acts the freaking hell out of this movie. Not that she's bad after, but if you aren't convinced about her performance here, I don't know what to tell you.

2nd: Plot precision. There is plot since the start, of course, but here, there is alot of attention to detail, the story goes one way and settles the table for the third act. Is more than anything a plot driven part, with little character moments here and there, but is perfectly done.

3rd: Visual Symbolism. The ending closes the movie on a literal note too, but serves the purpose of elevate the whole thing to another level by some, although a bit obvious, beautiful symbolism where everything that the movie stands for is clear for you to process
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5
Bertaut1Aug 3, 2018
Fatih Akin, the writer and director of Aus dem nichts [lit. trans. From Nothing] is a political individual; he makes political films and he makes political statements in his personal life. Akin identifies as a German-Turk; he was born inFatih Akin, the writer and director of Aus dem nichts [lit. trans. From Nothing] is a political individual; he makes political films and he makes political statements in his personal life. Akin identifies as a German-Turk; he was born in Hamburg, but his parents are both Turkish, having come to Germany with the first wave of Turkish immigrants following the Wirtschaftswunder of the fifties and sixties. He lives and works in Germany, and although almost all of his films are set there, and all have German-funding, he considers himself a Turkish filmmaker. When he won Best Screenplay for Auf der anderen Seite at the 2007 Cannes Film Festival, he accepted the award "on behalf of Turkish cinema." Easily the best known/most notorious of his political statements, however, was in 2006 when he was photographed wearing a t-shirt with the word "BU卐H" on it (the "S" replaced by a swastika). Displaying a swastika in public is against the law in Germany, and after a complaint was made, he was investigated by German police. He later defended the shirt, stating "Bush's policy is comparable with that of the Third Reich. I think that under Bush, Hollywood has been making certain films at the request of the Pentagon to normalise things like torture and Guantánamo [...] You can apply irony to something like that. You can redefine the symbol in a politically correct horizon. My T-shirt is more than mere provocation. You have to look into the context. The swastika is not there on its own, but as part of the word 'BUSH.' One would have to be pretty stupid, not to understand that."

Akin's main political preoccupation in his filmography is the experience of Turkish immigrants in Germany, specifically the racism often directed towards them, which is oftentimes found masquerading as patriotism. With that in mind, the plot outline for Nichts doesn't jump off the page as a typical Akin film - when former convicted drug dealer, Nuri Sekerci (Numan Acar), and his son are killed in a bomb blast at his office, his wife, Katja (Diane Kruger) has faith that the police and courts will find and punish those responsible. However, as Katja finds herself becoming more and more disillusioned with the systems which are supposed to be on her side, she comes to believe she must take things into her own hands. Read like that, this could be any number of bad Hollywood movies (Law Abiding Citizen springs to mind). However, when we include the fact that Nuri is Turkish, and that the police quickly come to suspect the bombing may have been connected to a Neo-Nazi group, it fits much more comfortably into his oeuvre. Unfortunately, it's not very good.

First of all, it'a rigidly divided into an intentionally artificial three-act structure, with each act given its own title, and introduction by home-movie footage. One of the most significant problems is that the acts simply don't yoke. The first is a pretty decent study in grief, the second is a rather dull court-room drama, and the third is a bizarrely hollow investigation into the morality of revenge. The last act mirrors the first in its use of slow pacing, long shots of people not doing very much, and sparse dialogue (as opposed to the very wordy second act), and while this is interesting in setting the narrative up in the first act, it falls flat in the third, as the whole thing ends up coming across as rather po-faced and self-important; a film convinced of its own profundity. For all that, however, up until the conclusion, I was thinking I would give it a six; it's entertaining enough, in a fairly disposable way. But then the bottom falls out. The last scene itself is actually pretty good. It's what happens next that irritated me. This has not been an especially political film - the Neo-Nazi storyline barely features; a few mentions by police in the first act, a single scene in the second, and a couple of short scenes in the third. That's it. As Katja is the only character who is really given any degree of agency, the Neo-Nazi characters are little more than background extras (in fact, in some scenes, they are literally background extras). So this is not a film which spends a lot of time delving into issues of racism in Germany or offering insight into the rise of Right-Wing Populism across Europe. It's a revenge drama. However, as it ends, a legend appears on-screen informing the audience how many race crimes are committed against Turks in Germany each year. The film has absolutely not, by any stretch of the imagination, earned the right to preach to the audience in this way. It's almost as if Akin forgot he was trying to make something political, only remembering in time to throw together a vaguely worded statement on the sufferings of his people in an effort to give the audience something to think about. It doesn't work, with the statement serving only to trivialise the issue by trying to tie it to a film in which it barely featured, and it leaves a decidedly bitter aftertaste.

5/10
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