Invincible | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

Arts & Culture » Theater Critic's Choice

Invincible

by

Sign up for our newsletters Subscribe

comment

Following a string of documentaries, Werner Herzog returns with his first dramatic feature in a decade, and though it's based on the true story of Zische Breitbart, a Polish Jew whose feats of strength astounded Weimar Berlin, it unfolds with the elemental power of a legend. Zische (Jouko Ahola), a simple blacksmith from a modest family, is lured away from his shtetl by a wily theatrical agent, and once he arrives in Berlin he's booked at a cabaret presided over by a wicked clairvoyant (Tim Roth). At first Zische performs in a blond wig as "Siegfried, the Iron King," part of the seer's scheme to curry favor with high-ranking Nazis, but after the strongman reveals his racial identity to the audience and declares himself "the new Samson," he begins drawing a combustible mix of brownshirts and defiant Jews. Ahola, a Finnish bodybuilder twice named the Strongest Man in the World, makes his screen debut in this English-language film, and though his acting is unschooled, to say the least, Herzog shrewdly uses his blunt sincerity to counterpoint Roth's spectacularly icy performance. 135 min. Water Tower.

Support Independent Chicago Journalism: Join the Reader Revolution

We speak Chicago to Chicagoans, but we couldn’t do it without your help. Every dollar you give helps us continue to explore and report on the diverse happenings of our city. Our reporters scour Chicago in search of what’s new, what’s now, and what’s next. Stay connected to our city’s pulse by joining the Reader Revolution.

Are you in?

  Reader Revolutionary $35/month →  
  Rabble Rouser $25/month →  
  Reader Radical $15/month →  
  Reader Rebel  $5/month  → 

Not ready to commit? Send us what you can!

 One-time donation  →