Adam Resurrected (2008) MVD Marquee Collection Blu-ray Review
Adam Resurrected is one of the more unusual holocaust movies I’ve ever seen, but it manages to work because of Goldblum’s intense, complex, and committed performance.
A Jewish magician who returns home after living in a concentration camp after World War II is interred into an insane asylum for years, where he slowly learns to heal.
Adam Stein (Jeff Goldblum in a complicated role) is a Jewish magician and comedian who impresses a German solider named Klein (Willem Dafoe) during a show just as World War II is heating up. He makes him laugh, which isn’t easy for anyone to do, and when Jews are eventually rounded up and sent to concentration camps, Adam is packed up and sent away along with his family. Lo and behold, Klein is in charge of the camp he’s sent to, and Klein immediately sets him apart and keeps him as a literal pet – made to crawl and bark like a dog, eat like a dog – for years as the rest of the Jews are packed into ovens and murdered, including Adam’s own family. When, eventually, the war is over, Adam is released as one of the “lucky” few who survived the ordeal, and he goes back to his old life, but he’s shell-shocked and completely broken as a man, whose inner psyche has been shattered by the horrors he experienced. He’s sent to live in a mental institution where he sort of seems normal, but it’s obvious to everyone (and us) that he’s got a long road to recovery ahead of him. He has a strange fetish of asking people to bark and behave like dogs, and he has managed to woo one of the nurses (played by Ayelet Zurer), but even their relationship relies on his fetish. Later, a young mute patient Adam names David becomes his “pet” in exactly the same way Adam was the Nazi’s pet, forcing him to behave like a dog, but as time passes, Adam begins to realize that the boy must also heal from whatever his traumas are, and so they have to move past the horrors somehow and heal together.
Based on a novel, and directed by Paul Schrader, Adam Resurrected is one of the more unusual holocaust movies I’ve ever seen, but it manages to work because of Goldblum’s intense, complex, and committed performance. The film tells a story that feels familiar, and yet it’s presented in such a way (the flashbacks are in black and white) that might be a little off-putting to some, but fascinating to others. It’s really worth watching for Goldblum alone, and Schrader worked well with him, while also utilizing Dafoe’s dependably interesting talents in a supporting part. No one can ever accuse Paul Schrader as being a boring filmmaker or taking on projects that aren’t challenging, and Adam Resurrected is further proof of that.
MVD Marquee Collection recently released a Blu-ray edition of Adam Resurrected, and it comes with an audio commentary by Schrader, as well as a behind the scenes fature, deleted scenes, a Q & A, and the trailer.