Eye For Film >> Movies >> Fog In August (2016) Film Review
Fog In August
Reviewed by: Amber Wilkinson
The Nazi death camps have been well-documented down the years in everything from the factual Shoah to the more recent fictional Son Of Saul, and now Kai Wessel shines a spotlight on the Third Reich's euthanasia programme.
Based on the book by Robert Domes and adapted by Holger Karsten Schmidt - which itself is rooted in historical fact - it tells the story of Ernst Lossa (Ivo Pietzcker), a 13-year-old from the Yenish travelling community. He is sent to the institution run by Dr Werner Veithausen (Sebastian Koch), not because he has an affliction but because his father has no fixed addresss - in a touching scene part way through the film where his father (Karl Markovics) visits, we see the first hints of the way authorities are manipulating situations to suggest they are doing 'what's for the best' when it is anything but.
Despite Lossa being a live wire, Veithausen seems to mostly take his antics with good grace, but the genial facade masks a mind that has fully bought-in to the Nazi eugenics, even coming up with is own way of "killing with kindness", aided and abetted by fresh-from-the-death camps nurse Kiefer (Henriette Confurius) and orderly Paul Hechtle (Thomas Schubert). Standing against them are the morally resolute Sister Sophia (Fritzi Haberlandt) and, soon, Lossa and new-found friend Nandl (Jule Hermann).
What makes the film so disturbing is not the orders coming from above but the culpability and hypocrisy at ground level, by people who just want to fit into the system. Schmidt's script explores the disconnect between the doctor's general interaction with the, mostly young, occupants of his facility - swinging one boy round to his huge delight - and the clinical way he sets about carrying out orders to kill the self-same children after dark.
Wessel doesn't show us specific moments of death, leaving that to the, almost certainly more compelling reaches of our own imaginations, which emphasises the secretive nature of what was going on as well as keeping this film accessible for young adult audiences. Like the fog in August of its title, the horrors of Wessel's film don't come in a rush, but insinuate themselves gradually in what, initially, appears to be a comparatively benign setting before leaving you chilled to the bone. Details, at the end of the film, of what happened to the killers involved, only provide additional, shocking, food for thought.Reviewed on: 15 Aug 2017