Son of Saul (Hungarian: Saul Fia) is about a man named Saul Ausländer (Géza Röhrig), a Hungarian Jew trapped in a Nazi concentration camp. He and a number of other prisoners work as sonderkommandos- prisoners forced to clean the gas chambers and to dispose of the bodies. One day while cleaning the chambers, Saul finds a boy who miraculously survived the gas, although he is quickly killed by the guards. But rather than be immediately burned like the others, the boy’s body is stored for later study. Saul gets the idea to give the boy a proper burial, usually an impossibility in his environment. In order to do so, Saul will need to steal the body from the medical labs and find a rabbi to conduct the last rights. Meanwhile, Saul’s workmates, cognizant of their impending execution, plot to escape from the camp.
Röhrig’s acting is quite good, which is a relief because otherwise the film would have been impossible to watch, but to be honest the cinematography of the film is so central and overbearing that it really drowns out every other aspect of it. It may very well be a ‘love it or hate it’ type film, because it won the Grand Prix at last year’s Cannes Film Festival. But what it came down to for me was that it was interesting to watch for about 10 minutes and incredibly distracting and tiring to watch for the other 95. It was certainly a unique experience, but honestly I never want to see another film shot like that ever again.