Better late than never, Mild Concern’s review of Lore is here.
One of the less fun-filled road movies, Lore follows a family of children as they traverse a bleak post-WWII-resistance Germany to reach the safety of their Grandmother’s home 500 miles away after being abandoned by their Nazi parents. Along the way, Lore, the eldest child, attempts to deal with her newfound responsibility while also coming to realize the truth about the horrors that her parents contributed to in the War. To make things worse, Thomas, an emaciated Jew puts more stress on the group as he dubiously integrates himself into their arduous journey.
Whilst the concept of seeing the effects that the War had on the innocent isn’t new the concept of seeing those repercussions on the children of Nazis isn’t something often seen. When we are introduced to Lore and her siblings, they see their war-decorated father as a hero. Their family is honourable, wealthy and righteous, so when the children’s parents begin to burn most of the household’s documents and artefacts and move the family to a remote cabin in the woods the children are confused.
All their lives they’ve been the good guys and now people are looking at them like they would a piece of dog muck on their shoe. The confusion and angst that Lore and her siblings experience therein becomes the relatable driving force of the film’s emotion, and because audiences rarely think of such a situation the trauma that the group and Lore in particular experience is all the more compelling.
Saskia Rosendahl is exemplary as a leading lady. As the film progresses and the weight of the world becomes harder to bear her beauty deteriorates, succumbing to the visual and thematic hopelessness that permeates the film. Proving herself a diverse actress as the tragic Lore, she convincingly sells the horrific experiences that the film throws at her. From her newfound matriarchal woes, to awkward sexual scenarios, to exploring her own identity and worth in a world that has just been turned completely upside down Rosendahl is a diverse treat to watch in an otherwise monotonously grim film.
As a catalyst of Lore’s discovery that the world isn’t as cheery as she thought it was the film lays on its BBFC certificated promise of gore and “brief strong sex” pretty heavily. When a dog isn’t being shot in the head point blank there are bugs crawling over the parted legs of a bloodied, dead mother or recently shot out eye sockets dripping about amongst other unsightly images – and to change things up, occasionally we are treated several grim sexual attacks. Happiness is a rare novelty that cannot be afforded in Lore, and that is where the film falls short.
Whilst I admire the tale that director Cate Shortland is trying to tell, the unceasing misery of every character and plotline is just too depressing to bear. We as an audience thrive on the desolate drama that is explored throughout the film but without any hope or happiness for the characters to cling onto or aspire for Lore becomes more a film that we should punish people with than one we can maybe sit down to with our Gran at Christmas.
Lore is dark, cruel and rarely optimistic, and probably immune to Prozac too. If you’re after a film that will put a downer on your entire year Lore is for you. If not, go and see that other German film that came out last week.