A film that packs enough emotional punch to leave you haunted for some days after viewing.
A film that packs enough
emotional punch to leave you haunted for some days after viewing.
European cousins love a good war drama. Forget the crash, bang, wallop of
Hollywood, the French, Italians, Spanish and Germans etc, simply do not have
the cash for a Saving Private Ryan
(1998). What they do have though
is the heart and drive of a Schindler’s
List (1993). The Round Up is film that tells a harrowing story with such
heart and gumption it both destroys and raises your belief in humanity all in
one effortless motion.
Paris 1942 the Nazis had already gone about ostracising the French Jews.
Despite the prejudices they encounter the Jewish community, especially the
children, try to go about their lives as best they can. However, when Hitler
orders that 24,000 Jews be rounded up and sent to internment camps it tests even
the strongest resolve. Transported to Velodrome D’Hiver 13,000 Jews find
themselves facing a bleak future. Caught up in it all is a Jewish doctor (Reno) who refuses any offers of escape
to stay with his people and a Nurse (Laurent)
who, unlike many of her compatriots, refuses to see the Jews as the
‘Undesirables’ the Nazis have labelled them.
director Bosch, through endless
reams of research, weaves a hugely emotional story. Taking into consideration
endless accounts of the story it never feels anything other than coherent in
its ability to tell an important point in French history. Her colour pallet is
vibrant, making Paris look, in spite of the German occupation, hugely inviting.
though Bosch draws us into the human spirit of the events. The Jews, resolute
in the face of such discrimination, are able to stand up with pride to those
who would otherwise wash their hands of them. Indeed the juxtaposition of the
horrors that unfold as Hitler, quietly enjoying his mountain top retreat, barks
orders that would result in the death of millions of Jews, draws us that much
closer to the sheer audacity of the man. Yes it paints a fairly broad
picture but in doing so lends a vast amount of pathos to the unfolding events.
to this are the two key performances. Jean Reno brings his typically stoic
approach to his role. In holding back on any emotional extravagance early on
the impact of his breakdown towards the end is all the more tear inducing.
Meanwhile Melanie Laurent conveys much of the delicate, yet powerful, resolve
she so brilliantly portrayed in Inglorious Basterds (2009). It is through her
eyes we witness much of the brutality, but also the scenes of strength shown by
the brave Jews who refused to break beneath the weight of hatred.
fantastic production design, in particular that of the Velodrome, The Round Up
tells a poignant tale with just enough uplift at the end to give you hope. In
fact, if there is not a large lump situated at the back of your throat come the
end then you should probably check yourself for a pulse.