Son of Saul review

Son of Saul review

With the Oscars on Monday, this is your chance to get a glimpse of a film that may win an award.

Hungary's first-ever Oscar nominee is called Son of Saul. It's the favourite to win Best Foreign Film and has just opened here.

Only a few moments into this film and I knew this wasn't going to be easy. No film about the Holocaust ever should be, but Son of Saul is something else again.

The camera never leaves our leading character. We watch his face; we follow him; we hear what he hears; we see some of the things he sees; we feel everything he feels. 

Because we are inside Auschwitz, and Saul is a Jewish prisoner forced to work in the gas chambers, there is no escaping the horror.

On this day, the body of a boy will break something in Saul, and he begins a terrifying crusade to find a rabbi, and to honour the boy with a burial.

It may seem almost unholy to talk about the art of filmmaking here, but this is daring and wholly unique storytelling, as this first-time director uses his camera to its fullest potential as a window into the soul to extraordinary, and appalling, effect.

Son of Saul should win the Oscar for Best Foreign Film on Monday and deserves to. It's one of the most intimate, personal and courageous films ever made about the Holocaust. But that courageousness extends to you, to the audience.

Be warned this film has the power to seep into the senses and the soul and may never leave. It's a deeply harrowing experience.

Four-and-half stars.

     Son of Saul:: Director: László Nemes :: Starring: Géza Röhrig, Levente Molnár, Urs Rechn, Todd Charmont:: Rating: R16 - violence, cruelty & content may disturb:: Running Time: 107 minutes:: Release Date: In cinemas now