The Last of the Unjust (2014) - Rotten Tomatoes

The Last of the Unjust (2014)

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1975. In Rome, Claude Lanzmann filmed a series of interviews with Benjamin Murmelstein, the last President of the Jewish Council in the Theresienstadt ghetto in Czechoslovakia, the only "Elder of the Jews"* not to have been killed during the war. A rabbi in Vienna, following the annexation of Austria by Germany in 1938, Murmelstein fought bitterly with Adolf Eichmann, week after week for seven years, managing to help around 121,000 Jews leave the country, and preventing the liquidation of the ghetto. 2012. Claude Lanzmann, at 87 - without masking anything of the passage of time on men, but showing the incredible permanence of the locations involved -exhumes these interviews shot in Rome, returning to Theresienstadt, the town "given to the Jews by Hitler", a so-‐called model ghetto, but a ghetto of deceit chosen by Adolf Eichmann to dupe the world. We discover the extraordinary personality of Benjamin Murmelstein: a man blessed with a dazzling intelligence and a true courage, which, along with an unrivaled memory, makes him a wonderfully wry, sardonic and authentic storyteller. Through these three periods, from Nisko in Poland to Theresienstadt, and from Vienna to Rome, the film provides an unprecedented insight into the genesis of the Final Solution. It reveals the true face of Eichmann, and exposes without artifice the savage contradictions of the Jewish Councils. (c) Cohen
Rating:
PG-13 (for some thematic material)
Genre:
Documentary , Special Interest
Directed By:
Written By:
In Theaters:
 limited
On DVD:
Runtime:
Studio:

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Critic Reviews for The Last of the Unjust

All Critics (45) | Top Critics (22)

The best one can say for this troubling, if intermittently fascinating, mess is that it succeeds in raising questions, moral as well as aesthetic, that it cannot answer.

Full Review… | December 31, 2015
Tablet
Top Critic

Murmelstein addresses Lanzmann's skepticism and questions with earnestness, passion and -- as if the rest of it wasn't troubling enough -- what seems like total recall.

Full Review… | March 6, 2014
Newsday
Top Critic

Lanzmann organizes the material achronologically, presenting Murmelstein's narrative out of order and intercutting it with footage of Theresienstadt shot in 2012; this complex structure evokes a sense of moral vertigo that's nearly impossible to shake.

Full Review… | February 28, 2014
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

Those who think this is a black-and-white issue will be surprised, as Lanzmann himself appears to have been, by what is said here.

Full Review… | February 20, 2014
Chicago Tribune
Top Critic

The Last of the Unjust has a vivid immediacy.

Full Review… | February 19, 2014
NPR
Top Critic

[Lanzmann is] the kind of witness the Holocaust needs: The witness who refuses to leave the stand until the full story is told.

Full Review… | February 14, 2014
Orange County Register
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for The Last of the Unjust

½

The interviews with Benjamin Murmelstein are fascinating. The readings by Claude Lanzmann, shot in pertinent locations, less so. The cinematography stumbles (metaphorically) in attempting to replicate the long advancing and retreating tracking shots that dominated the look of SHOAH, but with handheld cameras. It's just not the same. Good history here, but room for improvement as a movie.

Michael Harbour
Michael Harbour

Oh my goodness. I totally do not understand the positive reviews for this movie. This is the most boring movie I've ever seen. I left after 2.5 hours... After falling asleep three times and not managing to even stay to the end and not even caring how it might end. One character read from sheets of paper for almost every scene. I wish I understood what people are seeing in this movie.

helen gregory
helen gregory

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