A noir thriller rich with ties to Alfred Hitchcock, it is a film that surprises, intrigues, and makes for some interesting postscreening discussion.
Nelly Lenz (Nina Hoss) has just survived the brutality of the concentration camps in 1940s Germany, but not without suffering a gunshot wound to the face. After getting facial reconstructive surgery, she becomes a whole different person, with none of her past life seeming to remain, and starts on her journey home.
Nelly’s journey is fueled by her desire to see Johnny (Ronald Zehrfeld), her husband before the war. She needs to know if he’s the one who betrayed her and gave her up to the Nazis.
When she does finally meet Johnny again, he is astounded by how much this “total stranger” looks like his late wife. Nelly plays along with this, and a cat-and-mouse game ensues. We aren’t sure if Nelly is using Johnny, or the other way around. Sometimes, comprehension seems to dawn on Johnny, but it is done so subtly, one is left to wonder whether he really knows the truth or not. We are never entirely sure whether Nelly is in control the whole time or just going along with Johnny for the ride.
A perplexing thriller with a Hitchcockian feel, the ending will leave viewers satisfied but questioning what they just watched. But those last, lingering questions are all part of the charm. Don’t miss this one.
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