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A24’s Holocaust Drama, The Zone of Interest

December 9th, 2023A24’s Holocaust Drama, The Zone of Interest

ZONE OF INTEREST opens December 15

It has been a great year for movies on the big screen. We’ve seen thought-provoking epics like OPPENHEIMER and KILLERS OF THE FLOWER MOON that have explored the nature of men with vast power and the effect their positions have on those around them, be it their families or those impacted by their decisions in devastating ways.

Before the end of the year, we’ll see what could very well be another movie that makes an impact with viewers with Jonathan Glazer’s ZONE OF INTEREST, a historical drama about the commandant of the Auschwitz concentration camp who tries to build an idyllic existence with his family within view of the notorious complex where so many lost their lives. Here’s what to expect and other things about the upcoming A24 Holocaust drama.

The Holocaust From A Different Perspective

From everything that we’ve seen, read, and heard about ZONE OF INTEREST, Jonathan Glazer’s upcoming movie looks at the Holocaust not through the eyes of the victims who were beaten, tortured, and killed within the walls of Auschwitz, but from the perspective of Rudolf Höss, the camp’s commandant, as well as his family living in a quiet home and garden just outside its gates.

In a September 2023 interview with Deadline, Christian Friedel, who portrays Rudolf Höss, explained that ZONE OF INTEREST is not only a movie about the Holocaust but also a movie about “us,” in that the characters are ordinary people, saying“normal people did this to other normal people.” It’s just that these “normal people” did very bad things to others.

The Höss Family Outside The Wall

Unlike films like THE BOY IN THE STRIPED PAJAMAS, or SON OF SAUL, all of which focus on characters living and dying within various concentration camps under Nazi control, ZONE OF INTEREST will spend its time with the Höss family. As mentioned above, Christian Friedel portrays the Auschwitz commandant, Rudolf Höss, and he is joined by Sandra Hüller as the leader’s wife Hedwig Höss, with Johann Karthaus, Luis Noah Witte, Nele Ahrensmeier, and Lilli Falk playing other members of the family.

Interestingly enough, this is Hüller’s second major movie of the Fall 2023 season, as she previously appeared in ANATOMY OF A FALL, a stirring courtroom drama that was named an AMC Artisan Film ahead of its release.

High Rotten Tomato And Metacritic Scores

ZONE OF INTEREST has not yet been released to general audiences, but many critics have been able to watch Jonathan Glazer’s first movie in a decade. As of early December 2023, the movie has a 92% Rotten Tomatoes score based on 115 reviews with a critics consensus that describes the film as something that, in part, “forces us to take a cold look at the mundanity behind an unforgivable brutality.” Similarly, the movie has a Metacritic score of 95 out of 100. Interestingly enough, of the 26 reviews included in the aggregate score, 25 were positive and one was mixed, with none being negative at this point.

It will be interesting to see how these ratings, as well as the Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score, look when ZONE OF INTEREST opens to general moviegoers in the weeks to come. It will also be interesting to see where the movie stands when it comes to ranking the best theatrical releases of 2023.

Cannes Premiere And Oscar Buzz

ZONE OF INTEREST had its world premiere at the 2023 Cannes Film Festival, where it took home multiple awards including the Grand Prix, which is considered only second to the Palme d’Or in terms of prestige. Jonathan Glazer’s movie also received the FIPRESCI Prize, the Soundtrack Award, and the CST Artist-Technician Award. Following its debut, the movie received a six-minute standing ovation from those in attendance, according to Variety.

In September 2023, Deadline reported that ZONE OF INTEREST had been selected as the United Kingdom’s official selection for the Best International Film race at the 96th Academy Awards. This doesn’t necessarily mean A24’s Holocaust drama will be in the final running for the prize come March 2024, but it is a big first step.

Watch The Trailer

In October, A24 gave the world a proper look at ZONE OF INTEREST with a one-minute trailer that didn’t offer much in terms of plot details but did an excellent job of setting the tone of the upcoming film. Throughout the brief teaser, we see shots of the Höss family in their home and garden outside Auschwitz.

Though these shots at first appear to show a family going about their normal lives in a peaceful and fulfilling way, upon closer examination it’s impossible to miss the death and destruction just meters away. Barbed-wire fences, smoke seemingly coming from the camp’s infamous crematoriums, and children playing with gold teeth that appeared to have been taken from the dead are just a few of the examples of the frightening and sobering imagery.

Jonathan Glazer’s ZONE OF INTEREST could be one of the most visually striking and unsettling movies coming to AMC Theatres this December. Be on the lookout for more about the film and other upcoming movies at AMC Scene.

ZONE OF INTEREST opens December 15

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