The Zone of Interest Review: A Chilling Examination of Banal Evil

Jonathan Glazer’s *The Zone of Interest* offers a hauntingly different perspective on the Holocaust, focusing on the domestic life of Commandant Rudolf Höss and his family living adjacent to Auschwitz. Directed with an anthropological lens, the film delves into the banality of evil, presenting the Höss family in their seemingly ordinary existence, juxtaposed with the horrors occurring just beyond their fence.
An Anthropological Study of Evil
Glazer’s approach is unflinching, opting to depict the Höss family in a naturalistic light, emphasizing their mundane routines amidst the atrocities of the concentration camp. Christian Friedel’s portrayal of Rudolf Höss is chilling in its normalcy, showcasing a man who, while not overtly malevolent, is deeply complicit in the systematic murder of thousands. Sandra Hüller delivers an equally haunting performance as Hedwig, embodying the quiet complicity of a woman benefitting from the suffering of others.
Aesthetic and Auditory Disturbance
The film’s use of natural light and minimalist cinematography adds to its eerie atmosphere, while Mica Levi’s dissonant score heightens the sense of unease, effectively capturing the audience’s discomfort. However, some avant-garde elements, such as extended blank screens and decontextualized sequences, may detract from the overall narrative impact.
A Stark Reminder of Complicity
*The Zone of Interest* serves as a stark reminder of humanity’s capacity for great evil in the most ordinary circumstances. By focusing on the domestic lives of the perpetrators, the film challenges viewers to confront the uncomfortable reality of complicity and the banality of evil. While not an easy watch, *The Zone of Interest* is a powerful and unforgettable cinematic experience that leaves a lasting impression.

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