Executed with incredible elegance and utmost attention to historical accuracy, Giulio Ricciarelli’s “Labyrinth of Lies” deals with the aftermath of WWII when German authorities and the majority of the population refused to acknowledge the magnitude of their involvement in the Holocaust. The film was Germany’s Oscar entry in the Best Foreign Language film category at the
88th Academy Awards, where it made it to the 9-film shortlist out of 80
Ricciarelli‘s compelling historical drama counts with fantastic lead performance by rising star Alexander Fehling at its core.Fehling plays a prosecutor Johann Radmann, a young man who thinks just like everyone else in his generation until he is faced with the facts of the crimes committed by his fellow countrymen during the war.
Ignorance and indifference towards their country’s deeds prevailed among the German population during the years immediately after the war ended. The people did not want to hear that their neighbor, their relative, or their own husband or wife was involved in the murder of millions of people across Europe. Grappling with such devastating guilt was a process that Germany as a country couldn’t begin until the truth was known, and until those who willingly participated were exposed, tried and punished.
In order to explore the ramifications and importance of the country putting its own soldiers on trial, Ricciarelli decided not to focus on the actual trials but rather on the uphill battle that Prosecutor General Fritz Bauer and public prosecutors, personified here via Johann, had to undergo in order to begin to mend the damage that silence and misinformation had caused. Classically crafted with impeccable locations, distinctive production design, perfect costumes, and a certain European flair, “Labyrinth of Lies” is a fantastic example of top-notch filmmaking in service of a resonant story that is thought-provoking, morally complex, and completely engrossing.
Upon its release “Labyrinth of Lies” became a box-office hit both in its homeland and in other European territories such as France. In the U.S. the film enjoyed a substantial release bringing in close to a $1 million The Blu-ray/DVD release by Sony Pictures Classics includes commentary with director , and insightful q&A at the Jewish Film Festival with both director and star, and several deleted scenes.