Should one ignore past atrocities and move on or continue targeting those who perpetuated evil at a personal cost? This is a question Labyrinth of Lies effectively tackles.
By exploring a person’s mission in bringing former German Nazi officers to justice, it presents a myriad of intriguing themes for viewers to ponder. Labyrinth of Lies crafts a compelling narrative about the nature of national loyalty and those who carry out awful deeds under its name.
In 1958, Germany is still dealing with the scars of World War 2. Grappling with the after-math is young public prosecutor Johann (Alexander Fehling). Taking on the cases of dozens of survivors of the Auschwitz death camp, he targets his zeal towards the soldiers and doctors who worked there. Finding his efforts continually frustrated by former Nazis still working in government, he is helped by journalist Simon (Johannes Krisch). Johann’s actions ruffle feathers as his quest for justice forces him to question his place in post-war Germany.
Labyrinth of Lies lives up to its title in depicting a tangled story full of emotional dilemmas. As Johann sifts through survivors’ evidence, he pieces together a puzzle of vile complicity. This reveals an interesting moral roadblock in deciding if the Nazi soldiers were forced to do their deeds or were eager participants. Life is ever black and white as Labyrinth of Lies starkly shows. The interference of government officials adds an element of danger to Johann’s mission as the tools of bureaucracy are used to further rattle fading Nazi power.
The direction and performances considerably aid in presenting facts in a non-hysterical manner. No over-used orchestration or emotion is used as the damning evidence piles up. Labyrinth of Lies has an atmosphere of sadness but also a message of hope that justice eventually prevails. There are many Johanns out there willing to right past wrongs just as the former Nazis he meets are all too willing to smother past atrocities. The re-writing of history is also something the movie conveys with today’s modern world of misinformation disturbingly paralleled in the screenplay.
Labyrinth of Lies is consistently engaging and unafraid in forcing viewers to discover brutal facts. The actions of Nazi officers were appalling but so is the ignorance of those wanting to hide the past. Only when old wounds are healed can one truly move on, which this film commendably tells.
Reviewed by Patrick Moore
Rating out of 10: 8