Zone of Interest is the newest movie by Jonathan Glazer. Personally, I love Glazer. His work is very interesting and deep, plus he created Don Logan, one of the best bad guys in a movie ever. I was looking forward to this new one.

The movie stars Christian Friedel, Sandra Huller, Johann Karthaus, Luis Noah Witte, Max Beck, and Slava the Dog, which isn’t a horrible nickname, it’s the dog in the movie.

The story for Zone of Interest is:

Auschwitz commandant Rudolf Höss and his wife Hedwig strive to build a dream life for their family in a house and garden beside the camp.

During World War II, the SS is run like a business. There are promotions within the ‘business’, there are targets to hit and everyone ‘working’ there is working for the greater good of Germany. Despite being the commandant of one of the biggest concentration camps, Rudolf Hoss is also a family man.

The movie is all set at his home, with the occasional day out to the river. The family is doing well, the kids have everything they could need, there are servants, a small pool, and a great garden, and they are comfortable.

The house is right next door to the camp though. There are scenes where the family is enjoying the sunshine, but in the background are the screams of the people, literally being tortured to death. This is part of normal life though, Daddy works in the camp.

The rest of Zone of Interest is about the day-to-day living in the house, including Rudolf getting transferred away from the comfortable life they lead. I won’t spoil it, but there is a section at the end of the movie which is really interesting. Glazer is one of those people who inserts certain things to really make you think, this section towards the end is exactly that type of thing.

Just An Everyday Guy

The movie is so interesting. So often, movies about World War II and concentration camps are purely about the suffering that took place in them and, rightly so, we need to learn from events like this to make sure they are never repeated. However, you never see a movie about the other side of it. Rudolf runs the camp like a business.

There’s one discussion about how to make Auschwitz more efficient at killing the inhabitants. They can’t kill all of the people that come through, as they need slave labor, so how many should be killed? How many were to be put into servitude?

There are Jews that work in the house, as servants, well, slaves. There are moments where you feel for their safety. The dog, as I mentioned earlier, gets treated better than the servants. They aren’t second-class citizens, they are lower than that. Watching a movie, from this side is very well done and challenging.

Glazer’s Direction

Glazer is a really interesting director and Zone of Interest is one of his best to date. There are no camera movements at all, everything is shot from a tripod. This gives it such a good look. I personally loved it. So many movies these days use CG to make the camera fly through the engine, out the exhaust, up the driver’s nose out and out of his ass.

Having Zone of Interest shot so simply was refreshing and you can focus on the story, and not feel sick from the shaky cam. The entire movie is beautiful to look at and it’s the little things in the background that make it.

You never see the horror that is taking place in the camp, but you know what’s going on. There are scenes where the family are enjoying the outdoors and you can see the smoke from a train in the background. You know that the train is full of more people, most of whom will be killed in the next few days.

Ohhh, a train…oh, wait!


The fact that you don’t see it, only hear it, or mild hints in the background, means your imagination works overtime. It was very uncomfortable and brilliantly handled.

Zone of Interest is entirely in German, so there are subtitles, but this takes nothing away from the gravitas of the story. There is great acting and the movie itself is very well made.  It’s a very anti-Hollywood movie, it makes you think, it doesn’t patronize you and it’s a great piece of work.

You can find Zone of Interest on rental at the moment. It’s hard work, but worth the watch.

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