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‘The Zone of Interest’ review: a haunting look at our darkest chapter

Jonathan Glazer's latest film – which takes an eerie look at the family who existed on the other side of the Auschwitz fence – is a haunting masterpiece.

5.0 rating

By Anna Smith

Jonathan Glazer's The Zone of Interest will be discussed for decades to come (Picture: A24)

Jonathan Glazer’s award-winning drama is as visually beautiful as it is thematically heart-breaking. Inspired by Martin Amis’s novel of the same name, it follows the daily life of Nazi officer Rudolf Höss (Christian Friedel) and his wife Hedwig Höss (Sandra Hüller). Their sunny home is next door to Auschwitz, where atrocities are taking place every minute. The calm, apparent denial of Hedwig is truly chilling as she fusses over her home and her husband’s status, while we gradually come to guess and learn more about his sinister duties.

Small details become horrifying, whether Hedwig is showing off a new fur coat — taken from a murdered Jewish woman — or Rudolf is hastily pulling his children out of the river where they have been swimming and scrubbing them down.

This is a true horror, all the more disturbing for the apparent ease with which this couple accept the status quo. It also feels, sadly, incredibly relevant to the modern day, subtly warning of the dangers of complacency and complicity.

All of the actors do a terrific job, and the direction and sound design in particular seem likely to take gongs. But this film will last well beyond awards season — it’s a classic in the making