Katja Sekerci (Diane Kruger) is a German woman living in Hamburg whose husband Nuri (Numan Acar) and 6 year old son Rocco (Rafael Santana) are killed in a terrorist bomb attack in In The Fade. The story is hers from the moment of the explosion.
Her husband Nuri, like the film’s director Fatih Akin, is a Turk. He’s been no angel in his life, having served time for dealing drugs and was immersed in the German drug culture. But since marrying Katja and having a child both of them have cleaned up and are leading the straight life when the improvised explosive device detonates and rips through Nuri’s office in the Turkish business center.
“Akin pulls no punches as you watch it spiral toward the dramatic climax…”
The police have their own biases and suspicions of the Turks and want to write the attack off as a drug-related hit between rival criminal groups but when they get a tip that neo-nazis were involved they start to pay closer attention to the details.
It’s rare when a film designed to raise awareness can also effectively thrill and move an audience, to make them care about the characters lives. Conventional wisdom is if you have a message to send, you should use a telegram, but Akin shakes that dogma off with grim style to bring attention to violence against non-Germans in Germany. Racist protest violence by neo-nazis is a growing problem as the far right Aryan ideal is alive and well for extremists in the Fatherland. The film’s escalating suspense is nerve wracking.
“…the far right Aryan ideal is alive and well for extremists in the Fatherland.”
Of course this concern is timely and relevant in the U.S. now as well with a surging wave of alt-right violence. We too are struggling with how best to employ our judicial discipline and our social contract to reign in those whose stated purpose is to destroy the fabric of the culture.
Thematically the story is timeworn and repetitive, but this in fact works in Akin’s favor since we are all familiar with court procedural stories: it allows the viewer to focus on Katja’s journey through the legal system and after as she seeks justice for Nuri and her son. She veers wildly between giving up to despair and being energized with rage to push on. Once the court has dispensed with the case Katja’s choices become more nuanced and considerably less predictable.
“…Katja’s choices become more nuanced and considerably less predictable.”
The film is named for a song by Queens of the Stone Age, whose lead singer, Joshua Homme, penned the film’s music. The dialog is in German, Greek, Turkish, and some English with subtitles where appropriate. Katja’s story is heartbreaking and intimate. Akin pulls no punches as you watch it spiral toward the dramatic climax.
In The Fade (2017) Written and directed by Fatih Akin. Starring Diane Kruger, Denis Moschitto, Numan Acar.
7 out of 10