The Ogre

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  • R
  • 1996
  • 6.8  (2,666)

The Ogre is a 1996 drama-fantasy film directed by Volker Schlöndorff and adapted from the novel The Erl-King by Michel Tournier. The film is a retelling of a dark fairytale set during World War II and stars John Malkovich as the main character, Abel Tiffauges. Supporting actors include Armin Mueller-Stahl and Gottfried John.

The story of The Ogre is set in France, just before the start of World War II. Abel Tiffauges is a simple man who is fascinated by children and has a strange attraction towards them. He’s a loner and an outcast who struggles to fit in society. Abel is also a mechanic who repairs cars and trucks for a living. One day, he is hired by a Nationalist party member to work for an aviation company that later turns out to be a training camp for Hitler Youth.

The camp is run by a group of Nazis who indoctrinate the children in the ideology of the Third Reich. Abel, who is working as a truck driver, becomes the chauffeur of the camp’s leader, a high-ranking Nazi officer. Abel becomes obsessed with the children and starts to steal things for them. His behavior is erratic, and he appears to be 'an ogre' to the children.

As the war begins, Abel is conscripted into the army, but he gets discharged due to his mental instability. When he returns home, he is arrested by the Gestapo and imprisoned in a concentration camp. Abel, who has been entirely brainwashed by the Nazi ideology, doesn't think of the atrocities that are happening around him. He is content with his job of feeding the pigs in the camp.

While in the camp, Abel meets an elderly prisoner, an archaeologist who is both scholarly and physically weak. The two men form a bond despite their age difference and different experiences. The archaeologist starts teaching Abel about myths, legends, and folklore from around the world. Abel starts to see the world in a different light, and his beliefs start to change.

The conditional kindness that Abel shows towards another boy in the camp reveals his inherent fondness for children. He sees the boy as his salvation and promises to look after him. The boy is taken by soldiers to a gas chamber, and Abel is devastated.

The film's central question is whether Abel is a victim of the system or an individual responsible for his actions. The Ogre is a harrowing and disturbing film that explores the complex themes of authoritarianism, fascism, indoctrination, and the nature of evil.

John Malkovich delivers an outstanding performance as Abel Tiffauges. He is convincing in his portrayal of a man who is desperate to connect with others but who's unable to. Malkovich brings depth to the character, and his performance is the highlight of the film. Armin Mueller-Stahl and Gottfried John also give competent performances as the Nazi officer and the archaeologist, respectively.

The cinematography in The Ogre is noteworthy. The film's stark, dry visuals capture the bleakness of the time and place. The locations used in the movie are perfect for portraying the military camps and concentration camps accurately. The scene of the gas chamber is powerful, conveying the horror of the atrocities happening during World War II.

The soundtrack is also excellent, evoking an eerie and unsettling mood. The score is instrumental in creating a dark and brooding atmosphere, which fits well with the themes of the film.

In conclusion, The Ogre is an emotionally charged and challenging film that is a must-watch for those interested in World War II Holocaust dramas. The Ogre is a portrayal of the mind-set of the Nazis that led them to commit heinous acts against humanity, and it serves as a warning to future generations. The movie is a dark fairytale that's both haunting and mesmerizing.

The Ogre
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    6.8  (2,666)