‘Lore’ and ‘Numbers’

Posted on May 28, 2013
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Australian director Cate Shortland’s second feature, “Lore,” takes a grueling journey with a
young German girl as she struggles to survive the punishing conditions of post-World War II Germany, “paying” for her Nazi parents’ support of Hitler and his war. Newcomer Saskia Rosendahl stars as Lore, a 14-year-old girl who is left to fend for herself after her SS father and mother are photoimprisoned by the victorious Allies at the end of World War II. Lore takes the lead as she and her four siblings set out on a harrowing trip across the devastated country, from Bavaria toward the safety of their grandmother’s house in the North. The children struggle to survive the land’s horrible post-war conditions, and Lore begins to understand the truths and consequences of her parents’ actions and their support of the atrocities of the Holocaust. It’s uplifting and depressing all at once, as Lore slowly grows in her understanding of the reality outside her narrow worldview. Based on the 2001 novel by Rachel Seiffert. In German with English subtitles.

I’m a fan of John Cusack’s work — especially when he plays down-and-dirty — and I’m also fascinated by the phenomenon of the shortwave numbers stations, used by the world’s intelligence agencies to transmit secret messages (as popularized by Wilco’s 2001 album “Yankee Hotel Foxtrot”), so I was looking forward to “The Numbers Station” (2012), starring Cusack, Malin Akerman, Liam Cunningham and Lucy Griffiths. The plot: After his latest mission goes disastrously wrong, veteran CIA black ops agent Emerson Kent (Cusack) is given one last chance to prove he still has photo what it takes. His new assignment: guarding Katherine (Malin Akerman), a code operator at a top-secret remote CIA numbers station in Great Britain. When an elite team of heavily armed assailants lays siege to the station, Emerson and Katherine suddenly find themselves in a life-or-death struggle against an unknown enemy. While there’s some interesting twists and turns, for the most part the scenario is pretty predictable — though there are some thrilling action sequences. Cusack plays his character so close to the vest that one doesn’t know if he’s just walking through his lines or playing an extremely introverted agent. Fun but forgettable. On DVD and Blu-ray from Image Entertainment


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