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A complex, well-acted meditation on moral obligation and human loyalty, Taking Sides features noteworthy performances from Harvey Keitel and Stellan Skarsgard.
All Critics (56)
| Top Critics (23)
| Fresh (41)
| Rotten (15)
| DVD (2)
Schematic, didactic, and most of all, in the case of Keitel, woefully miscast.
The notions of the good man's complicity through inertia ... are ones that have been more powerfully explored before.
We're asked to jump into the combatants' arguments with no background about either one, no reason to care if Skarsgard sweats or Keitel rages.
The talk in this moral debate smokes with provocative drama and actors of weight.
Brilliantly acted and written, Taking Sides overcomes any shortcoming of its transition from stage to screen.
The film makes you take sides, and herein lies its attraction.
...a moderately effective small-scale courtroom drama set in the immediate years after Germany's surrender and shortly after the trials at Nuremberg.
A film of some considerable power, thanks primarily to the brilliant performance of Skarsgard.
In "Taking Sides," Harvey Keitel has interpreted "powerful performance" as loud, aggressive, and singularly one-sided, despoiling an otherwise thought-provoking film.
A captivating and worthy endeavor.
That rare drama that's both emotionally moving and intellectually thought-provoking.
Exists in the over-written, claustrophobic confines of the Ronald Harwood stage play.
[font=Century Gothic]"Taking Sides" is set after the end of World War II, when the United States Army is investigating former Nazis in Germany. One specific target is Wilhelm Furtwangler(Stellan Skarsgard), the famed conductor of the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra. Major Steve Arnold(Harvey Keitel), a dogged insurance investigator in his civilian life, is put on the case. In interviewing several orchestra members about their conductor, Arnold receives the same answers - the orchestra did not perform at the Nuremburg rally, Furtwangler did not salute Hitler and he was not a member of the Nazi party. Not satisfied with those answers, Arnold digs deeper to find proof of Furtwangler's guilt while postponing their interview. In the meantime, he is banned from working as a conductor...[/font]
[font=Century Gothic]"Taking Sides" is an intelligent movie that raises some interesting issues about the intersection of art and politics and patriotism(when can a person rightfully turn their back on their country?) through the most extreme example - Nazi Germany.(I did receive some insight into the German public's support of Hitler during World War II.) But the movie cannot escape its stagebound roots(though Ken Adam's wondrous production design sure gives it a try). Harvey Keitel simply overdoes it while Stellan Skarsgard takes the high road by underplaying perfectly. The film would have been better if it had focused more on Furtwangler. It portrays Germans as being cultured lovers of classical music while Americans are portrayed as relative philistines.(Marian Anderson's famous Easter 1939 concert at the Lincoln Memorial refutes this stereotype perfectly.) [/font]
[font=Century Gothic]Director Istvan Szabo has been on similar ground before when he made "Mephisto" starring Klaus Maria Brandauer. "Judgment at Nuremburg" and "Zentropa" are much better movies about postwar Germany. [/font]
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