The Truce

  • 1997
  • Movie
  • R
  • Drama, Historical

Actor John Turturro delivers an uncharacteristically restrained performance as late Italian writer Primo Levi in this otherwise unremarkable dramatization of Levi's post-Holocaust memoir. In January 1945, as Russian and Allied forces sweep through Poland, the Nazis hastily abandon the concentration camps, shooting as many prisoners as they can and leaving...read more

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Reviewed by Ken Fox
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Actor John Turturro delivers an uncharacteristically restrained performance as late Italian writer Primo Levi in this otherwise unremarkable dramatization of Levi's post-Holocaust memoir. In January 1945, as Russian and Allied forces sweep through Poland, the

Nazis hastily abandon the concentration camps, shooting as many prisoners as they can and leaving the survivors to starve behind the locked gates. Levi, a prisoner in Auschwitz, suddenly finds himself a free man after Russian troops liberate the camp. But as Levi tries to return to his native

Italy he discovers that another kind of struggle has begun: The struggle to recover his humanity in a Godless, war-torn world that's eager to forget Auschwitz. The film opens with the image of a burning book -- the registry of Auschwitz prisoners' names, which the Nazis burn in order to erase all

evidence of their genocidal activities. In a sense, much of Levi's writing was an attempt to undo that single act, to record and memorialize all that was destroyed by the Holocaust. So it's a shame that this well-intentioned film does such a poor job of translating Levi's experiences to the

screen, alternating as it does between the heavy-handed and the obscure: On the one hand, hardly a word is spoken that isn't accompanied by a musical surge and some truism about the human condition or the state of the world. On the other, too much of the dialogue is delivered in Russian without

the benefit of subtitles. For an informative treatment of the period immediately following the liberation of the camps, check out the first half of the Academy Award-winning documentary THE LONG WAY HOME. Better yet, pick up one of Levi's books.

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  • Released: 1997
  • Rating: R
  • Review: Actor John Turturro delivers an uncharacteristically restrained performance as late Italian writer Primo Levi in this otherwise unremarkable dramatization of Levi's post-Holocaust memoir. In January 1945, as Russian and Allied forces sweep through Poland,… (more)

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