The Assault | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader
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Fons Rademakers's adaptation of Harry Mulisch's acclaimed Dutch novel, about a World War II survivor (Derek de Lint) haunted by the violence done to his family by the Nazis. The film can't quite escape its novelistic past more than its characters can escape their own infernal history, though Rademakers (Max Havelaar) turns the literary material to such deeply expressive ends that questions of creative personality and provenance hardly seem to matter. For de Lint's Anton Steenwijk, war is the watershed and the measure of all things, though his own involvement with historical remembering is hardly unique: every survivor bears the mark of similar obsession, and everyone carries a part of the puzzle that comprises Steenwijk's undiscovered past. Rademakers manages to avoid the easy ironies that customarily plague this kind of existential reminiscing (the one exception comes so unexpectedly it's more of a shock than a cliche), and his images achieve a subtle, hallucinated intensity that always suggests more than the literal surfaces reveal. The technique rarely falters, and the emotional intelligence behind it is committed and deep. With Marc van Uchelen (as young Steenwijk), Monique van de Ven, and John Kraaykamp. (Biograph)

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