On the verge - Page 2

Terror's Advocate adds to Barbet Schroeder's library of alluring evil
|
(0)

Combine Before and After (1995), Our Lady of the Assassins (2000) and Murder by Numbers (2002), and you have an oeuvre with more murderous teenage boys than anything this side of William Burroughs. In his Single White Female (1992), Kiss of Death (1994), and Desperate Measures (1997) there is a twinship between monsters and heroes and a surprising sympathy for the violently unhinged. Consistently, Schroeder examines people of conscience who are seduced into doing evil's bidding, and he lets them speak for themselves. Even Vergès's defense of Nazi butcher Klaus Barbie is framed as an opportunity to attack French hypocrisy, imperialism, and butchery. Asked if he'd defend Hitler, Vergès says, "I'd even agree to defend [George W.] Bush. But only if he agrees to plead guilty."

Terror's Advocate is dense with information. Its structure is complex and indirect and requires unfaltering attention. Yet Schroeder succeeds at creating a surprising amount of suspense, especially considering the amount of screen time given over to talking heads. Meanwhile, he quietly explores what must be one of the central enigmas for our tortured planet, the human relationship to violence. Violence and money, violence and sex, violence and political change, senseless violence and goal-oriented violence — Schroeder nimbly navigates all of the above, creating a visceral ethical disquiet. *

TERROR'S ADVOCATE

Opens Fri/2 in Bay Area theaters

Also from this author

  • Crosses and losses

    "Amish Abstractions" ponders whether the "simple" life is different from the life of (Bridget) Riley

  • Drunk on words

    THE DRUG ISSUE: 12 hallucinogenic novels and 8 inebriated memory pieces

  • Ghost writer

    Roberto Bolaño travels from the grave to the future with Nazi Literature

  • Also in this section

  • Ye of little faith

    A priest struggles with his flock in John Michael McDonagh's tasteful, frustrating 'Calvary'

  • Rise up singing

    'Alive Inside' charts one man's quest to bring music to patients with memory loss

  • Shots fired

    A PFA series brings World War I films into focus