December 27, 2017 – This is a profoundly sad and tragic tale of murder, injustice, sorrow and revenge set in Germany against a background of violent racism.
The film opens with the main character, Katja Sekerci (played by Diane Kruger of the “National Treasure” movies) marrying Nuri (Numan Acar of “The Great Wall”) in prison. Nuri, a Turkish national, starts up his own business in Hamburg when he gets out of prison, leaving his old life as a drug dealer behind. He and Katja and their young son, Rocco (Rafael Santana) have a good life together. That all comes to a tragic end when Nuri and Rocco are killed by a bomb at Nuri's office.
The police focus on Nuri's criminal past, but Katja thinks it was Nazis who killed Nuri, just because of his racial and ethnic background. As the police make no progress in their investigation, Katja sinks into depression, and feuds with her in-laws and her own family. Her in-laws want Nuri and Rocco buried in Turkey. She refuses.
Katja is suicidal when she finally gets a call that the police have made arrests. It turns out that she was right, it was the Nazis who murdered her husband and son. She attends the trial, which is an emotional ordeal. The defendants are a young couple, André and Edda Möller (Ulrich Brandhoff and Hanna Hilsdorf) who appear to be guilty of the crime, but they have a very capable defense attorney (played by Johannes Krisch). He manages to poke some holes in the prosecution's case. That, and a phony alibi provided by another Nazi, Nikolaos Makris (Ioannis Economides) is enough to get the defendants acquitted of all charges.
The father of the defendant André Möller, Jürgen Möller (Ulrich Tukur) testified against his son at the trial, and informed police of the bomb-making materials he found at his son's house. Katja asks him if he would have turned his son in if he knew he had committed the crime. Jürgen Möller replies, “I knew.”
Failing to get justice from the courts, Katja travels to Greece where she tracks down Nikolaos Makris, and finds André and Edda Möller nearby, living in a motor home on a secluded beach. Katja's lawyer calls with a proposal to appeal the case. She has to decide what to do. Appeal the case, or seek revenge on her own.
Diane Kruger gives a very convincing performance as the emotionally devastated wife and mother. Her grief is palpable. Johannes Krisch is very effective as the defense attorney, and Denis Moschitto gives a good performance as a lawyer who is Katja's friend. He is very determined to seek justice in this case.
This story has something to say about the rise of white supremacy, as well as the frustration felt by families who have not been well served by the criminal justice system. Turkish writer-director Fatih Akin shows here that he has a good feel for these issues. There is a message in this film, but it is not overbearing. This is a thoughtful and subtle approach. This film rates a B.
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