|Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Douche Bag|
Mother Night is a film of proof. Probably the most important thing that it proves is that Kurt Vonnegut adaptations work better than Bonfire of Vanities led us to believe. This film, based on his book, is a supposed companion piece (both the film and novel) to Slaughterhouse Five (film and novel). I don't really see it, but... I've been wrong before. Another thing it proves is that - and this is right alongside Prince of Tides - Nick Nolte is an actor with an enormous range. He has heartbreaking moments of lonely clarity is several key scenes here. If you need further proof of how brilliant he is, I suggest you check out a film called Northfork. It's... stunning. In every sense of the word.
This film, however, I can't call stunning. Bludgeoning, I think, is a more appropriate word. It's meant to hit you hard, right in the back of the head, with it's story, and it does. It's brutal in a very non-physical way. The violence in the film, despite being a WWII Nazi movie, isn't what you'd expect from other films of this ilk that you've seen. It's not The Grey Zone, it's not Schindler, nor is it The Pianist (which really isn't that violent, actually). It's a film almost in its own class, with one hell of a mystery surrounding its main character.
An American playwright living in Germany is commissioned by the American government to pose as a member of the Nazi party and report secret intel back to the states. What he winds up becoming is the leading anti-semetic broadcaster on the radio during the war. After Hitler's death, and subsequent trials, his life is supposed to be quiet and free from intrusion, as a thank you from the American government. Until a cartel of neo-Nazis drag him back into the world he once only pretended to inhabit.
If you want to see an exercise in ingenious low-budget filmmaking, and an acting lesson from one of the most underrated leading men ever, you'd do well to seek this film out as soon as you can.
It's available on Amazon.com for as little as $4.90