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December 06, 2008

Adam Resurrected

Adam_resurrected_xlg "Slaughter House Five" meets "The Night Porter" in director Paul Schrader's energetic adaptation of Yoran Kaniuk's 1968 novel about former cabaret star Adam Stein (brilliantly played by Jeff Goldblum). Adam is a Jewish concentration camp survivor giving more treatment than he receives at a fictional asylum called the Seizling Institute in the middle of the Negev Desert. Flashbacks show Adam's past life as a popular magician working in Germany with his wife and daughter working as assistants in the act. The capture of Stein's family's takes the habitual burlesque entertainer to camp warden Commandant Klein (played by Willem Dafoe) who forces Stein to behave like his personal dog. Adam is even made to sleep in an outdoor doghouse. The profoundly intellectual but quirky Stein  retains a sense of humor about the ordeal and is able to help the clinic's latest arrival, a traumatized boy who only acts like a dog. "Adam Resurrected" is a sardonic film about survival and a quest for sanity that so far bests the deluge of Nazi-related films coming out this holiday season. To it's credit "Adam Resurrected" has a lot more in common with a movie like "Choke" than it does "Schindler's List."

Rated R. 106 mins. (B) (Three Stars)


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