WATCH ON THE RHINE (Herman Shumlin, 1943)

Mostly relying on Lillian Hellman’s expanded stage melodrama and some terrific performances, Watch on the Rhine is a stirring entertainment. Herman Shumlin’s first film—Shumlin had directed the Broadway production—has me crying so hard I can barely breathe whenever I watch it.      On the train to Washington, D.C., Sara Muller, who has been in Europe for […]

GOMORRA (Matteo Garrone, 2008)

The Camorra is an actual criminal mob whose base of operations is Naples, Italy. Matteo Garrone’s sober, unblinking, coolly observant Gomorra is pulsatingly contemporary, riveting, unsentimental and, cumulatively, massively moving. It is based on the 2006 book by 26-year-old journalist Roberto Saviano; since its publication Saviano has needed constant police protection. We learn at film’s […]