The Last Days | Chicago Reader

The Last Days

Five Hungarian-American Jews describe what they endured during the Holocaust and allow themselves to be filmed returning to the sites where they suffered. Their interviews are supplemented by archival montages and strategically intercut by director-editor James Moll in a way that ensures our emotional response will parallel what we might experience watching a melodrama. Unable to hold back tears, one woman asks that she not be filmed for the moment, but the camera continues to roll, mainly to prove how unflinching the filmmaker is. Moll avoids the convention of using a voice-over narrator; instead a score by Hans Zimmer (The Lion King) tells us how to feel. The most effective parts of this documentary—which perpetuates the idea that human suffering must be sensationalized to be understood—have no incidental music. The executive producer was Steven Spielberg.

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