February 24, 2024

The movie adaptation of Martin Amis’s novel “The Zone of Interest” is the best thing about the book, as the director Jonathan Glazer transformed it and made it his own. The novel is narrated by the characters’ monologues, mostly schtick-laden, and the movie distills and transforms the premise into an altogether different story and tone. The film centers on the real-life Höss family and their life just outside the walls of Auschwitz. It focuses on the conflict between professional life and family happiness when Rudolf Höss is promoted and sent to Germany while his wife pressures him to let her and the children stay in Auschwitz. The film presents unfathomable horrors through bathos, alluding to enormities in the form of minor daily inconveniences. It follows Rudolf and his activities but shrinks from portraying the real horrors he witnessed. There is no room for the victims’ voices or point of view. Glazer punctuates the movie with hallucinatory sequences and eerie, expressionistic images accompanied by bleak music, emphasizing the deep seriousness of the film.