In the Fade (Aus Dem Nights) (Fatih Akin, 2017): Germany/France

Reviewed by Kimberli Wong, AFI Fest 2017

In the Fade (Aus Dem Nights) directed by Fatih Akin is an intense, thrilling, and suspenseful look at racial terrorism in present-day Germany.  It is inspired by the true story of a series of murders and bombings that happened in Germany in the 2000s, in which Neo-Nazis targeted Turkish residents.  The movie follows the story of one woman, Katja (Diane Kruger), coping with the loss of her young son and reformed, crooked gone straight Turkish husband (Numan Akar).  Their murder happens early in the movie, and the rest of the movie centers around how Katja deals with this stunning loss.

Diane Kruger undergoes a complete transformation in this role.  She is virtually unrecognizable from such roles as Helen of Troy (Troy, 2004) or Inglorious Bastards (2009).  Katja is gritty, tough, rebellious, and fiercely strong.  The almost frantic action and filming, coupled with blaring music in the beginning is quickly replaced by grim silence and stillness as Katja must choose how and if she will move on from her family’s death.  When the two suspects are caught and brought to trial, Katja herself is questioned for her psychological and emotional stability and reliability in properly identifying them.

In the Fade is a relevant example of hate crimes, terror, loss, grief, rage, and justice  in a society that must determine for itself what its future will be.  It is the story of a nightmare that has become a living reality.  What are one’s options when faced with such an impossible situation?  Katja must and does make the only choice that makes sense in her world.  The performances are absolutely riveting, and the story one that Fatih Akin tells with such conviction, in the hopes, I am sure, that one day such stories will be merely fiction.

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