Friday, June 4, 2010


When I see the credits WRITTEN AND DIRECTED BY WERNER HERZOG followed by the phrase "Based on a True Story" I think Yeah Right. How could the imaginative Herzog direct a factual film. Even his true life documentaries contain elements of fiction. Yet here we have a story written and directed by the eccentric German director about a Jewish strongman living in rural 1932 Poland. When the poor man enters and wins a strength contest to pay back a debt, he is noticed by members of the rising Nazi party and recruited to be in the sideshow of a clairvoyant (played by the smarmy and remarkable Tim Roth) where he is presented as an Aryan and as an argument for German superiority. All the elements of a Herzog movie are in place here such as the bizarre and memorable images, and this is not a typical Hollywood story about Nazis and Jews. The acting is off as Roth seems to be the only trained actor in the film.This is not among Herzog's best work but still better than a large percentage of crap playing in the local cinematheque.