Mother Night

  • 1996
  • Movie
  • R
  • Drama, Spy

Keith Gordon's dry-eyed version of Kurt Vonnegut Jr.'s novel is less Vonnegutian than one might have hoped -- less absurd, less larky -- and less Vonnegutian than one might have feared: The wacky, philosophical story stands up perfectly well without the author's annoying verbal mannerisms. Howard W. Campbell Jr. (Nick Nolte) is an American writer recruited...read more

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Keith Gordon's dry-eyed version of Kurt Vonnegut Jr.'s novel is less Vonnegutian than one might have hoped -- less absurd, less larky -- and less Vonnegutian than one might have feared: The wacky, philosophical story stands up perfectly well without the author's

annoying verbal mannerisms. Howard W. Campbell Jr. (Nick Nolte) is an American writer recruited to spy on the Nazis and masquerade as a radio propagandist during World War II. Years later, he's recognized as a Nazi and beset by Nazi hunters, neo-fascists and Russian spies, eventually landing in

the Israeli prison from which he tells his story. Was Campbell a working Nazi? What counted for more: his work as a spy, or as a propagandist? The movie addresses this heady stuff head-on, with a quiet sense of the ridiculous and no apparent strain. Gordon, whose A MIDNIGHT CLEAR was seriously

underrated -- juggles the material adeptly, and Nolte makes for a convincingly nonplussed Campbell. Vonnegut buffs may miss the clownish peaks and valleys -- there's no mistaking this for a film made during the '60s, Vonnegut's glory days -- but it's still a fascinating trip.

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  • Released: 1996
  • Rating: R
  • Review: Keith Gordon's dry-eyed version of Kurt Vonnegut Jr.'s novel is less Vonnegutian than one might have hoped -- less absurd, less larky -- and less Vonnegutian than one might have feared: The wacky, philosophical story stands up perfectly well without the au… (more)

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