Jakob the Liar

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After Roberto Benigni in the camps, Robin Williams in the ghetto (this was actually shot before Life Is Beautiful). Radios and newspapers are banned in the Jewish quarter of an unnamed, Nazi-held Polish city, which places a real premium on reports Jakob (Williams) overhears from a German army broadcast when coincidence finds him inside their barracks. No one believes that he was able to talk his way out again, so Jakob must surely have an illicit radio himself. Realising the morale boosting effect of his revelations, he starts spinning out a few more creative untruths. Broadly, the central conceit is similar to Life Is Beautiful, that when the world becomes too awful you simply invent your own. Benigni's dubious airbrushing is largely avoided, but Kassovitz's film is still a contrived affair, since the misunderstanding which sets the plot rolling is tiresomely stretched out in order to draw something positive from harrowing historical fact. Moreover, face set in that characteristically sincere grimace, Williams gets to bond with an orphaned girl and provide knockabout fun with a faked Churchill radio address.

Release details

Duration: 120 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Peter Kassovitz
Screenwriter: Peter Kassovitz, Didier Decoin
Cast: Robin Williams
Alan Arkin
Bob Balaban
Hannah Taylor Gordon
Michael Jeter
Armin Mueller-Stahl
Liev Schreiber
Nina Siemaszko
Mathieu Kassovitz

Average User Rating

5 / 5

Rating Breakdown

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LiveReviews|2
1 person listening
Edmond Dantes

I believe that this film shows a slice of life as it was at that particular time in that particular place. What more can one want from a film?

Edmond Dantes

I believe that this film shows a slice of life as it was at that particular time in that particular place. What more can one want from a film?