From page to screen
Directed by: Stephen Daldry
Written by: David Hare
Starring: Kate Winslet, Ralph Fiennes and Bruno Ganz
Adapted from the novel by Bernhard Schlink, The Reader injects an affair between a fifteen year old and a tram conductress into the Holocaust, its survivors and the war crime tribunals that took place after. In dealing with such a heavy subject, it’s hard for Stephen Daldry’s film to be anything but serious and deeply emotional. While much of the story is illustrated with sensuality and impressive performances for the lead roles, its slowness and relatively conventional dramatization fails to meet the standard of other international productions. Stamped with English-speaking, German-accenting actors throughout the film, The Reader also feels a little unsteady and contrived in its handling of Holocaust debates and the complexity of such trials as Hanna (Winslet) finds herself in. The story, however, is engrossing because of the screen presence emanating from the actors (of course, Kate Winslet, but also from David Kross who plays the young Michael) and the depth of the protagonist’s attachment to Hanna is both convincing, if not a little tragic.