Never Look Away | Salt Lake City Weekly
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  Rated R · 189 minutes · 2018

Historical drama
Only after the movie was over did I realize that this Foreign Language Oscar nominee from Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck (2007 Oscar-winner The Lives of Others) was an in-all-but-name “great artist biopic”—based on the life of Gerhard Richter—but in hindsight, that explains a lot. The narrative follows the life of aspiring artist Kurt Barnert (Tom Schilling) over the course of 26 years, from his childhood in Nazi Germany dealing with the tragic loss of his beloved aunt (Saskia Rosendahl), to his courtship with his eventual wife Ellie (Paula Beer) and his unknown connection to Ellie’s father, Professor Seeband (a wonderfully villainous Sebastian Koch). An epic 188-minute running time encompasses that journey, as von Donnersmarck touches on the legacy of Nazi-era eugenics and the way pedagogies of various political systems influence the creation of art. But ultimately the narrative becomes all about Kurt trying to find his creative voice, and while von Donnersmarck stages many of the artist-at-work moments effectively, there’s still something vaguely off-putting about employing melodramatic narrative developments—and genuine historical cruelty—to serve a tale about a guy feeling good because he’s painting the Truth.
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Director: Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck
Producer: Jan Mojto, Quirin Berg and Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck
Cast: Tom Schilling, Sebastian Koch, Paula Beer, Saskia Rosendahl, Oliver Masucci, Ina Weisse, Johannes Allmayer, Florian Bartholomäi, Lars Eidinger, Ben Becker, Jonas Dassler, Johanna Gastdorf, Jörg Schüttauf, Jeanette Hain and Hinnerk Schönemann

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