The Notebook | Salt Lake City Weekly
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  Rated R · 110 minutes · 2013

János Szász's The Notebook is almost like a parody of a “serious” European art house movie. Part of an unfortunate tradition within naturalism of confusing mirthlessness for profundity and tedium for artistic substance, it follows twin brothers through the latter, relentlessly horrible stages of World War II in Hungary. It remains a source of amazement how World War II is at once the most documented conflict in the history of war, and yet incompletely explored due to the superficiality of so much of the documentation. Szász spends the entire film wallowing in and somehow simultaneously at arm’s length from various rote horrors, both imposed by the war and arising from the brothers’ gradual degeneration. There need not necessarily be someone to “root for” in a film, but when the protagonists are essentially horror movie villains who make the Nazis look reasonable, something has gone horribly wrong. As cinema, it suffers from the belief that cinematography is a matter of keeping the camera in focus, rather than putting anything in the frame worthy of focusing on. As art in general, it simply suffers. A woeful waste of everyone’s time.


Staff Rating:
Director: Janos Szasz
Producer: Pal Sandor and Sándor Söth
Cast: László Gyémánt, András Gyémánt, Piroska Molnár, Ulrich Thomsen, Ulrich Matthes, Sabin Tambrea, Gyöngyvér Bognár and Orsolya Tóth

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