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Actor: Klaus Maria Brandauer
Director: Giacomo Battiato
Genres: Action & Adventure, Television, Mystery & Suspense
R     2005     2hr 10min


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Movie Details

Actor: Klaus Maria Brandauer
Director: Giacomo Battiato
Genres: Action & Adventure, Television, Mystery & Suspense
Sub-Genres: Action & Adventure, Television, Mystery & Suspense
Studio: Sterling Ent
Format: DVD - Color,Full Screen
DVD Release Date: 03/15/2005
Release Year: 2005
Run Time: 2hr 10min
Screens: Color,Full Screen
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 7
MPAA Rating: R (Restricted)
Languages: English

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Movie Reviews

Excellent! TamA
(5 out of 5 stars)

"This movie/film is wonderfully produced. It is well worth the buy. It is about a boy (who is very good at chess)whose mother knows the code to a Swiss bank account that contains millions of dollars that she put away to free and help other people. I thnk its set in Germany. His mother dies, and soon everyone is after the boy including the bad guy-the professor and the good guy-the long-lost rich American father he never knew he had. They team up with his mother's friend Anna, but she soon sacrifices her life to get him across the boderline. At the end he reveals the code to the Swiss bankers which is coded in chess moves. He and his father decide to live together. Overall, a wonderful film, a talented cast (Thomas Sangster is great) and the setting is brilliant."
How much was fact? How much was fiction?
Gene Bitner | Amarillo, TX United States | 01/04/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)

"Since the film's basic plot has already been reviewed, I will just add a few comments. The "dirty little secrets" seem to be coming out now about how American businessmen helped finance the Nazis-- also the fact that the Swiss were hardly innocent bystanders, raking in all of that Jewish cash. So I think the movie "does good" in tempting viewers to investigate the truth.

This is a LONG production, 130 minutes, and I thought it did drag a bit in spots. Perhaps, had I learned how to play chess, those segments would have been more interesting to me.

The scenery and settings were intriguing-- especially the old French cars and telephones.

I had difficulty with two plot elements: First, trans-Atlantic phone calls were popping back and forth with modern, fiber-optic ease. Second, the boy's father instantly changed from a piano-playing party guy to a hardened resistance fighter just as soon as he hit European soil... a little difficult to believe.

But all in all, a good effort and psychological study of how the horrors of World War II affected an 11-year-old. Thomas Sangster's acting was superb.

Flawed yet haunting
Paul Emmons | West Chester, PA USA | 05/09/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)

"TamA has already given us a tantalizing synopsis of this movie's intriguing scenario. It takes place primarily in France rather than Germany, yet the Nazi occupiers are everywhere, and we are not allowed to forget for a moment their heartless menace to anyone daring to operate an underground resistance movement. Paranoia would not be too strong a term for the mood induced.

I like this film despite many seeming improbabilities in the plot. Stories so intricate and subtle often require many viewings to connect all the dots. Here I dearly want to explain why (as happens again and again) a character must do something the hard way rather than the easy and obvious way. It's always painful to see excellent filmmaking lavished on a foundation of sand. This movie has piqued my interest enough to want to read the novel on which it is based, if only to answer such questions. If the answers are good, I'll gladly raise my vote to 5 stars. If not, I'm afraid I'm too generous with 4.

But now for the many attractions. The masterful Klaus Maria Brandauer brings his experience in "Burning Secret" to bear for another role as an urbane, complex, psychologically scarred villain opposite a sensitive, solemn, very intelligent hero only 11 or 12 years old (in this case, Thomas Sangster). Both stars are mesmerizing, as are several other actors. The cinematography is gorgeous throughout, exteriors and sumptuous interiors. The buildup of tension erupts in several breathtaking action scenes. And the composer of the dreamy, melancholy score deserves an Oscar. A CD should be released just so we can enjoy the music. For fans like me of cinematic atmosphere, this film provides it in spades.

If only I could be confident that the whole is more the sum of its parts."
A Different Portrayal of Events.
Betty Burks | Knoxville, TN | 07/15/2005
(3 out of 5 stars)

"This foreign film gives us a picture of World War II from a different perspective. The young boy was a chess wiz and with his memory helped to keep his mother's crusade alive. There is much violence in this movie based on the novel DADDY by Loup Durand, but then that was how life was in Germany and France in those tumultous years.

It was interesting to see a movie made where that kind of thing really occurred in the 1940s. It was much better than seeing top name American actors pretending. These actors made it appear almost real.

I can't say why I bought the DVD, could be the enigmatic pose of Thomas Sangster. The photo on the front makes you want to hug that child."