Jakob the Liar


Time Out says

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.

By: TJ


Release details

120 mins

Cast and crew

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