Review: THE INVISIBLES Is A Compelling Tale Of Survival

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Gestapo spy Stella Goldschlag (Laila Maria Witt) finds Cioma Schlönhaus (Max Mauff) - THE INVISIBLES - Courtesy of Greenwich Entertainment

The Invisibles is a new hybrid docudrama film from director Claus Räfle. Blending interviews and re-enactments, the movie tells the story of four survivors of the Holocaust. However, the story of these survivors is even more astonishing than usual because they survived by hiding in the supposedly “Jew-free” Berlin.

The format of the film is quite interesting. The first comparison that comes to mind is 2018’s American Animals, which has a similar structure of blending the real story and re-enactments. Whereas American Animals used the device to question the legitimacy of the story, The Invisibles uses the format to bring an extra layer of authenticity. It certainly has an intriguing effect on the movie.

The story is certainly one of the film’s strongest aspects. There is a lot going on, as the movie tells the experiences of four people, but the script balances these stories for an ultimately enjoyable and thoughtful, albeit not particularly enlightening experience. This film is definitely very touching. The fact that these four people had the will to survive in such a terrible situation is truly inspirational.

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Hanni Levy (Alice Dwyer) outside a cinema – THE INVISIBLES – Courtesy of Greenwich Entertainment

All four of the movie’s subjects are developed in a way that makes them very sympathetic. There is obviously an instant sympathy for them being that they are victims of one of the most horrible atrocities in the history of man, but the film goes even deeper in showing their personalities and their humanity. The level of balance between the four stories definitely helped with that.

The pacing is rather strong too. The movie is adept at jumping between the different stories at the right time so that it leaves enough suspense but doesn’t cause frustration. It is easy to get wrapped up in the world of the characters because of the level of intensity that the film has.

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Eugen Freide (Aaron Altaras) at a former Jewish hospital turned Gestapo detention center – THE INVISIBLES – Courtesy of Greenwich Entertainment

The actors in the re-enactment segments all do a great job in their roles. Max Mauff gives the most impressive turn in the movie. He is able to bring a lot of emotion to the character, even more so than any of the other actors. Alice Dwyer and Ruby O. Fee also do a good job, but Mauff steals the screen.

In technical terms, the film is very strong too. The cinematography is strong. The close-ups do a nice job of capturing the emotion in the actors’ expressions. The sound design is strong too. Although the score isn’t particularly memorable, the use of diegetic sounds adds a lot to the overall tone and feel.

Overall, The Invisibles was an interesting movie. Although the script doesn’t break much new ground, the story and execution are compelling. This is a film that history buffs will definitely enjoy.

The Invisibles opens in select theaters on January 25.

By Sean Boelman

Sean is a film student, aspiring filmmaker, and life-long cinephile. For as long as he can remember, he has always loved film, but he credits the film Pan's Labyrinth as having started his love of film as art. Sean enjoys watching many types of films, although some personal favorite genres include dramatic comedies, romantic comedies, heist films, and art horror.

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