March 09, 2009


What is morality? Who decides what’s right or wrong? Who decides the destiny of men? Is it the law of the land or the law of the times? Are ethics and values changeable? The Policeman, who fires on students, is he just following orders and thus is absolved of all crimes or is he refusing to exercise a choice? Can Germany claim innocence of the crimes of the Nazi Leadership? Are we exactly the same as our chosen Governments? The Reader is a classic must watch for all who grapples with the question of Morality every day of their lives.

The first half of the movie travels of dangerous slippery roads of Morality where an elder woman seduces a teenager and develops a relationship that will come back to haunt him all his life. But it also shows how our first heartbreaks continue to shape our future lives. “You do not matter enough to me to upset me.” Only those who have heard this statement can realize how shattering it feels.

But the movie’s greatest strength is its apparent flaw in logic. A lot of decisions that the protagonist takes will seem incomprehensible but when you see the confusion that reigns Hannah’s face (Kate Winslet in her Academy Award Winning Role) you will begin to empathize. You will appreciate the quest for knowledge. You will appreciate The Odyssey again.

The greatest question comes in front of the audience during her trial as a Nazi Guard in a concentration camp. She is bewildered. She never realizes why she is being tried for just doing her job. She asks, “What would you have done?” The judge and the audience are left speechless.

Only one thing, try to watch the unedited version of the movie. Indian censor board ensures that you wonder at what’s happening in the first half an hour.


Sandeep said...

Nice observations banjo. I loved this film. My fav scene - when she admits thats its her handwriting and 20mins later we know the truth.

Madhurjya (Banjo) said...

@ Sandeep - absolutely beautiful moment. You can see the confusion written all over her face