Starring: Diane Kruger, Denis Moschitto, Numan Acar
Director: Fatih Akin
Running Time: 106 mins
In The Fade (Aus dem Nichts) is a German film about a woman who seeks justice after her husband and son are murdered in a racially-motivated attack by neo-Nazis.
A devastating personal drama, an enthralling legal thriller, and an unnerving reminder of the presence of a menace that’s far from extinction, In The Fade is an absolutely brilliant film, and although it doesn’t ever make for an easy watch, it thrills with a stand-out lead performance from Diane Kruger, and dark, heavy-going direction from Fatih Akin throughout.
The key focus of the story here is the emotional fallout of a woman after losing both her husband and son in a supsected terrorist attack, as we see shock turn to grief, grief turn to anger, and anger grow and grow as the perpetrators of the attack try to wiggle away from the repercussions.
Diane Kruger’s performance in the lead role is fantastic, and as well as giving a strong and emotionally enthralling insight into the inner turmoil that her character experiences over the course of a devastating period of her life, she also portrays the subtle, bubbling anger that begins to come to the surface as her attempts to seek justice come up against opposition, creating an incredible dramatic tension that leaves her character proving a far more enigmatic and unpredictable presence throughout.
And that’s where In The Fade really stands out for me. While its presentation of grief and emotional devastation is powerful, that’s something which isn’t all that uncommon, however the film combines that with a thrilling story that takes a different direction to what many similar premises do, and in turn becomes a far more engrossing and unpredictable watch than what I expected at first.
The film isn’t just a morose portrayal of a woman wallowing in grief, and it’s the thrilling developments of the legal proceedings that come into play after the first act that really make for an intriguing watch. As well as working brilliantly as a simple courtroom thriller, In The Fade brings to attention the nature of the system of law, as we see our main character come up against the people she is convinced killed her husband and son, yet finding herself blocked on numerous occasions by procedure that she believes goes completely against true justice.
As a result, the film does what many others fail to do, and that’s really get under your skin. Yes, it’s an emotionally harrowing drama, and an equally intriguing legal drama at the same time, but the repeated frustrations to what seems like an open-and-shut case is something that proves an immense frustration to the woman, and in turn yourself as the viewer looking for justice to be carried out.
And finally, In The Fade offers up a deeply unnerving message that serves as a reminder to the ever-present threat of neo-Nazi groups. It’s not the film’s key theme for a large portion of the drama, but it’s an enthralling and very worrying link to the real world that brings another degree of gravitas and terror to the story you’re watching unfold.
Overall, I was hugely impressed by In The Fade. It may be a very heavy-going drama, and far from the most pleasant film you’ve ever watched, however with a powerhouse lead performance from Diane Kruger, the film simultaneously stuns as a powerful emotional drama, a riveting courtroom thriller, and a very unnerving reminder of a still-present real-world terror, which is why I’m giving it an 8.1.