Mother Night Reviews

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Super Reviewer
½ December 11, 2006
Unusual and thoughtful character study featuring a great perfomance from Nick Nolte. Perfectly captures the tone of Vonnegut's intelligent but offbeat writing style. A forgotten gem.
Super Reviewer
July 2, 2008
Tight script and direction with some good performances in this underrated WW2 drama.
February 12, 2012
One of the strangest films I have seen based on Nazis and World War II. It was great seeing Nick Nolte really play this role. Kurt Vonnegut Jr. is one of the greatest novelists in American literature history and his story really comes alive in Keith Gordon's adaptation. The entire story of Howard Campbell Jr. makes me wonder if someone like that really existed in Berlin during the height of World War II. I also loved John Goodman as the OSS agent who liaises with Campbell. What a screwed up assignment for Campbell. Great shots of black and white in the prison as well. Wonderful work by Nick Nolte and Sheryl Lee. A very good film.
½ November 18, 2009
As many people know I am a undying fan of Kurt Vonnegut, however film adaptations of his works tend to be for lack of better word hollow. They tend to fail to convey the point of the novel and rarely capture the feeling of the book.

This movie however is an exception. Based on one of my favorite Vonnegut novels, Mother Night is the story of Howard W Cambell Jr (Nick Nolte), and american playwright living in Nazi Germany. Cambell lives for his wife Helga North(Sheryl Lee), a german actress. They vow that no matter what happens in the world that their love with prevail. Cambell is approached by Major Frank Wirtanen (John Goodman) and asked to be an american spy. Cambell uses his standing in society as a playwright to get himself a radio show, where he quickly gains himself a reputation as the voice of Nazi Germany, while feeding secret messages over the air. Late in the war Helga is a casualty of the war at the hands of the Soviet Army. When Howard finds out he quits his work with the propaganda ministry and when the war ends the US government sets him up with a new identity and a place to live in New York. Years later he is in a prison in Israel awaiting a trial for for crimes against humanity. In prison he is asked to write his memoirs before the trial, at which point he writes about his life from the point he was approached by Major Wirtanen to the point where he was sent to Israel.

This movie successfully captures the essence of the novel. While this is one of his most serious writings, the movie doesn't convey much of the classic Vonnegut humor, with exception of the few scenes featuring Robert Sterling Wilson: The Black Fueher of Harlem. The movie however completely captures the love and despair of the story, and raises the questions of what is real? what is real because we want it to be? what is real only because of the perception of reality? and what do you do when your only reason for living is taken away?

I highy recommend this movie and this book. It is truly one of Vonnegut's masterpieces. My only disappointment with the movie was the omission of the final iconic line from the book. I won't ruin the ending or any of the plot twists throughout, you'll have to find those out for yourself.
December 23, 2007
Of course I had to watch Mother Night, having read the book and Vonnegut being one of my favorite authors. It was surprisingly good. It followed the original story well. Go movie people! You did well for once. You didn?t slaughter the book.
May 14, 2008
Very well done. Vonnegut himself appears briefly as a passing stranger in the film's denoument. Nolte is great. John Goodman plays a character reminiscent of his role in Barton Fink. Alan Arkin is well cast of course for a film based on a book of this era.
June 8, 2007
Based on a Kurt Vonnegut novel? Starring Nolte and Goodman? Too good to be true, and it was so good that this movie was buried and very few people know about it. It should be seen. Nolte is perfext for the role, he creates such sympathy for his character, and, let's not forget, it poses some questions about war that actually seem to be worth asking, which is exceedingly rare during these times of partisan American life.
½ February 24, 2007
Vonnegut's novel with the author on the set, ensuring that nothing would be betrayed in this great novel. Worth the DVD purchase just to hear a higher and more f**cked up Nolte (before the infamous photo) in his commentary... not about the film but his nonstop rant on drugs, politics, and the future of film.......
½ May 18, 2015
Far and away the best adaptation of Vonnegut (probably the best suited of KV's works, too). It is a fascinating film, and in some ways improves upon the novel. It also stands on its own if you have NOT read the book, which can't really be said for most of the other KV adaptations. Check it out.
½ January 20, 2013
Deeply moving and profound story, even if very sad and fictional, I can see why the author felt that this was the best movie version of any of his books, although I also liked Slaughterhouse Five, whose mood was much lighter. Although I was never a Nick Nolte fan, his performance in this movie was outstanding. Although not really a movie just for entertainment, it had some very real truths about life, war , politics, and what makes life worth living,
December 23, 2011
Brilliant adaptation of one of my favorite Vonnegut novels. Not a simple task. Job well done.
August 5, 2011
Mother Night, good night. Fell asleep while watching. Up to the moment of dozing off seemed just a little boring.
½ September 20, 2010
absolutely top notch in every aspect.
October 17, 2009
I've never seen a film that evoked so much empathy in me for such a complex and conflicted character. Nick Nolte doesn't get enough credit for what a courageous thespian he has been. It is also amazing how such a dark film is capable of evoking humor about its subject without treading into the ridiculous. It's always refreshing to see such a grave film not take itself so seriously. But I assue this may have a lot to do with the masterful post-modern writing of Kurt Vonnegut.
October 20, 2006
Here's another film rating.
½ June 1, 2006
It is odd and not the least bit presumptious on my part to assume anyone reads these so I feel like I'm talking to myself when I say sorry for the abscence. Yes I've found myself in quite the pickle as of late that leaves me without much time to do anything. The only comfort that can be found in my current situation is that surely one day there will be many jokes and anecdotes to provide when I'm much removed from the events.

A couple of things...if you do read this Ms.inddirect one I still haven't gotten to watch your film that you provided in the PM. I just haven't had time. Not ignoring the movie. Lord knows I would love to watch it and bash the living hell out of it in hopes of making you feel like less of a human. But alas...I don't even get the small joys anymore. I also want rmk to know that there is a rule in this journal that if you read it you must comment on it. I don't care what you say really but you do have to say something.

One odd development in my life recently is that by coincidence I've had to stay with people that watch loads of movies. They are netflix fanatics. I have to say it seems like a good deal. You get movies in the mail without the bothersome drive to the store or standing in line but one must wonder what that does to this economy. We are a consumer driven and service driven economy. How many people's jobs depend upon you going to the movie store? The destitute oil industry. The bloke behind the counter at the gas station. The owner of the gas station. The owner of the movie store. The clerk behind the counter that used to have to listen to you swear that you turned Meet the Deedles back on time. The times they are a changing.

So anyway I saw Battle Royale and it lived up to the hype although it is shockingly unoriginal. I figured that it was going to throw some curves and swerves but it really is less introspective than Lord of the Flies. It is like Lord of the Flies with guns and without the heart. I still loved it.

Mother Night was one I've wanted to see for a long while. It follows a US Spy that played the part of a Nazi during WWII. Problem is that after the war no one except a select few knew that he was a spy. So he is forced to live the rest of his life in hiding until the Israelis find him out. Nolte is a great actor that is sadly now more known for his famous mug shot. Still a great fun little movie you should check out.

Then we have Badlands which shocked me for one reason. I had no idea how much Tarantino had ripped off this flick for True Romance. Even the people that made it stayed with the flow of ripping it off by using almost the same damn annoying score slightly modified. It isn't a bad movie and Martin Sheen is cool most of the time. Just like True Romance our guide is a dim-witted girl who is blindly to the point of being annoying in love with some average schmo. Not bad but I expected more from Mallick. Watch Thin Red Line instead.

Lastly...yes I watched Brokeback Mountain. I know Mr.Furious. Don't even say it. I gotta say I thought it wasn't as gay as Bad Boys 2 but there is no way around the fact that fundamentally this movie just sucks. Heath Ledger talks as if he constantly has two cocks in his mouth and Donnie Darko is hard to believe in the cheery power bottom role. I prefer him brooding and homicidal. I can't get past the fact that this movie would've been nothing if it had Ledger and some married girl he wasn't supposed to have sex with instead of some sheep herder he wasn't supposed to have sex with. While I will admit that seeing the Princess Diaries girl's tits was cool you can skp this movie if you haven't seen it. All praise be to Allah for Crash getting Best Picture. The half assed way they ended this movie makes the sappy Crash ending look Usual Suspects inspired. If you haven't seen it don't read this spoiler but the 5 second way they wrote off Gylenhaal(sp?) had me in stitches and Ledger desperately trying to emote in the aftermath was just confusing. Why was he never that caring beforehand?

So this has been yet another installment of me talking out of my ass. I hope you enjoyed yourself and the complimentary bagels provided by my mysterious jewish benefactor. Adios.
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