Survivor’s guilt jumps a generation in Boaz Yakin’s bleak family portrait, an incendiary journey back into the psychic horrors of the Holocaust. Beginning in a concentration camp, Yakin’s film links the carnage of a surgery room to a Jewish girl’s seduction of the Nazi doctor next door, inking a deal with the devil to save her own life. Fifty years later, that woman (Jacqueline Bisset) is still paying down the interest, married to a weakling and the mother of two screwed-up men. In flashbacks, we see how this frayed mom deformed the eldest (Lucas) into someone who derides women at a modeling agency and spends his nights slapping around kinky-sex partners. The youngest (Haas), meanwhile, has merely become a reclusive pianist, turning his anger on himself.
It’s the older son’s colleague (Brody) who calls out the traumatized misogynist on his rage issues; in turn, he forces Mom to deal with how she traded both body and soul to stay alive. Many morals were compromised in those camps, but here’s a twist that, in going beyond the familiar, once again lays bare the heartache: two sons, forever imprisoned in the nightmares of the mother.—S. James Snyder
Opens Fri; Quad. Find showtimes
See also “The Hot Seat”