david prown 120I have noticed over the last few years that the longer it takes between when the previews are shown in the theaters and it actually being shown in theaters is a negative.  Not necessary the film is bad (but that happens) but it is generally lacks a general buzz.

I found this to again be the case with the based on assorted facts (composite) film "Labyrinth of Lies".  Set in post WWII West Germany (late 50's), the previews looked most interesting.  Young, idealist lawyer Johann Radmann (played nicely by Alexander Fehling). His transformation of doing legal work for traffic violations to investigating his own (German) people is extremely difficult.

One has the sense that W. Germany (both the government, media and the citizens) have generally buried the crimes that occurred during the war and now look the other way. Many of the Nazi's obtained government jobs at many levels and that navigating that pathway often yielded frustrating obstacles.

Getting access to the files of the American Occupation forces fuels a drive to arrest the infamous Dr. Joseph Mengele.  Radmann learns in short that certain Nazis are simply untouchable and he has to change his "home run" targets and work with other like-minded Germans in the legal profession to take down others, slightly lower.

The timeline to rein in these criminals legally is lengthly and Radmann gets exhausted, disenchanted, quits and comes back to finish the journey. He dominates the screen time.  His bland, traditional German persona without the film being spliced with Holocaust flashbacks makes this film straightforward and yes, at times, slow.  Add in a 2 hour flick, and it was a bit tough to stay awake during this entire sub-titled fillm.

Tough story to tell on a movie screen but an important story. Particularly the notion that most Germans looked the other way after the war (good guys and bad guys) and moreso that the bad guys actually got good jobs, with good lives and ample protection on different levels.

Saw this film 2 weeks ago and unfortunately lasted only 1 week at Red Bank's Bow-Tie Arts theatre. But there are other options to fine this interesting story.