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Jakob the Liar
Jakob the Liar
Actors: Michael Jeter, Mathieu Kassovitz, Mark Margolis, Armin Mueller-Stahl, Nina Siemaszko
Director: Peter Kassovitz
Genres: Comedy, Drama, Military & War
PG-13     2000     2hr 0min

After being detained at Gestapo headquarters and overhearing a radio report of a Russian victory, Jacob passes along the good news but has to prove himself. — Genre: Feature Film-Drama — Rating: PG13 — Release Date: 1-JUN-200...  more »

     

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Movie Details

Actors: Michael Jeter, Mathieu Kassovitz, Mark Margolis, Armin Mueller-Stahl, Nina Siemaszko
Director: Peter Kassovitz
Creators: Elemer Ragalyi, Ed Shearmur
Genres: Comedy, Drama, Military & War
Sub-Genres: Robin Williams, Drama, Military & War
Studio: Sony Pictures
Format: DVD - Color,Widescreen - Closed-captioned
DVD Release Date: 03/21/2000
Original Release Date: 01/01/1999
Theatrical Release Date: 01/01/1999
Release Year: 2000
Run Time: 2hr 0min
Screens: Color,Widescreen
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 2
MPAA Rating: PG-13 (Parental Guidance Suggested)
Languages: English
Subtitles: English
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Member Movie Reviews

David M. from WALKERTON, IN
Reviewed on 8/3/2012...
A fine movie which manifests the true acting ability of Robin Williams.

I really like to watch comedians in other roles to see if they are up to the task; can they really act? Robin Williams can and does portray his role very well here.

He has done other serious roles which only proves he has talent. A long way from Mork and Mindy, 'Nano Nano.'

Here he plays a resident of the Warsaw ghetto who overhears bits of news on the German radio and passes it along. The news (and lies) grow in ever greater proportion giving hope to the Warsaw population.

The only detraction would be that the entire film is in English. I do not mind reading subtitles. A lot of war films are done like this (in English). I would like to see a little native language.

Despite this fact it is still worth a look
Aimee M. (AimeeM)
Reviewed on 3/31/2008...
This is a very good movie, with some comedy, but mainly drama.
This isn't for people who want a happy ending. It is a war film, therefore the ending is closer to reality.

Robin Williams does a good job, you ALMOST forget it is him, which is good.

I recommend it, as long as you have a box of tissues!
1 of 2 member(s) found this review helpful.

Movie Reviews

Minor holocaust film
Roland E. Zwick | Valencia, Ca USA | 10/13/2000
(2 out of 5 stars)

"Filmmakers with the chutzpah to tackle the holocaust always have to tread along some pretty slippery ground. How does one visualize the unimaginable horrors of such an apocalyptic human event without flinching, yet make it all palatable enough to keep the audience from fleeing the theatre? In addition, one must always avoid offending any of the actuals survivors who rightfully bridle at the first sign of softening or sugarcoating. Precious few film have managed to accomplish this feat and transform the experience into works of lasting art. In addition to "Schindler's List," of course, two other successful films come to mind: the 1965 Czech masterpiece, "The Shop on Main Street," and the beautiful 1983 Hungarian film, "The Revolt of Job." One of the reasons these three films succeed is because they all approach the subject from the viewpoint of a gentile outsider who is drawn into the momentous event and whose consequent moral dilemma becomes the audience's own. Through this approach, the audience is put not in the position of a helpless victim, doomed to unimaginable suffering, but of a participant whose actions could stand the chance of affecting a positive outcome on at least a small scale. The result is that each of these films avoids the overwhelming sense of depression and hopelessness that otherwise would accompany this heavy subject matter. "Jakob the Liar," like the recent "Life is Beautiful," plunges us directly into the center of the horror - the Warsaw ghetto in the months right before the Russian invasion of Poland. Robin Williams portrays Jakob, a former restauranteur who, through a series of flukes, manages to convince his fellow captives that he has a hidden radio which continually broadcasts news of the Russians' advance. This results in a temporary renewal of hope and courage as the inhabitants of the ghetto begin a plan of insurrection.Despite obviously noble intentions, "Jacob the Liar," itself a remake of a 1976 Polish film, seems far too artificial in its story and performances to ring true. Although Williams gives a relatively restrained account of himself and keeps the unctiousness of many of his recent film portrayals down to a minimum, he is still recognizable as Robin Williams, replete with the occasional stand-up comedian schtick, such as when he acts out all the voices in an ersatz radio program for the benefit of a little girl who has become his inadvertant ward. All throughout the movie, the writers provide moments of inappropriate mirth and slapstick that rob the subject of the seriousness of its purpose. And, although one sympathizes with the reason for doing so, is it really necessary to provide such an upbeat finale to a supposedly serious holocaust drama? This merely emphasizes the artificiality of the whole enterprise.One hesitates to be too harsh on a film of this nature. Certainly, its makers were driven far more by their love of the subject than the expectation of great boxoffice success - and "Jakob the Liar" is certainly no disgraceful failure for which its makers need be ashamed. It simply misses its mark both as a chronicle of the horrors of the holocaust and as a work of art. To see how that can be done, please check out "The Shop on Main Street," which still stands as quite simply one of the greatest films ever made!"
Understand Where This Is Coming From
Samuel G Carle | West Jefferson, Ohio United States | 07/03/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)

"Don't watch this expecting Life Is Beautiful or Schindlers List - Don't watch it expecting to compare it to other Robin Williams Films. Granted, it's not as realistic and the original German version but understand where the film is coming from. Read Jurek Beckers novel for more insight. I'm assuming this films takes from the novel (which is set in the Lodz ghetto in Poland) - it's not a lavish detailed holocaust film but the message of hope that is gained from this is great. Watch the original German production and read the book - then watch this version with an open mind."
The key to your reaction will be your frame of reference
Hugh Brownstone | England | 08/05/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)

"The week before seeing this film, my wife and I travelled to Krakow, Poland to see Auschwitz. We then visited Prague. I have to tell you, if your frame of reference is boomer generation American living in Europe and having visited the real thing -- rather than other movies -- the film is a revelation.We stumbled across this rental in a UK Blockbuster, rented it, and were stunned by it. It felt closer in atmosphere and nuance to where we'd just been than anything we've ever seen. It is a "small" movie: no grand gestures, no sweeping vistas or bright colors. No "pops" in the story line, no grand themes caricatured. This is not to say that we don't have our own copies of Schindler's List and Life is Beautiful, nor that these films suffer from these defects!But...if you haven't been to this part of the world, the one film of these three that would be most consistent with what you felt and intuited would probably be this one.I'm sorry the critics didn't like it. It is something out of the ordinary, and appears to have been a labor of love."