Adam Resurrected: Special Edition [Blu-ray]
(Jeff Goldblum, Willem Dafoe, Derek Jacobi, Ayelet Zurer, et al / Blu-ray / R / (2008) 2021 / Bleiberg Entertainment - MVD Visual)
Overview: Tormented in a World War II concentration death camp by a high-ranking Nazi officer (Academy Award Nominee Willem Dafoe, The Florida Project), Adam spends the next fifteen years tucked away in a remote experimental insane asylum with fellow Holocaust victims.
Clinging to the remains of his sanity, Adam uses his amazing magic and comic skills to entertain the residents and develops a relationship with an attractive nurse (Ayelet Zurer, Man of Steel).
But only when he reaches out to a mentally scarred young boy does he begin to confront his own pain and guilt and start to heal in this extraordinary testament to the fierce resilience of the human spirit.
Blu-ray Verdict: Taking it from the top, the underrated Paul Schrader directed Adam Resurrected, a tale about a Jewish vaudeville entertainer during the Weimar period who later suffered dehumanization at the hands of a concentration camp commandant and survived.
Noah Stollman adapted the screenplay from Yoram Kaniuks novel of 40 years before, Schrader fashions another story with his infamous thematic elements of man vs. himself and man vs. man while simultaneously wavering between reality and psychological breakdown.
Jeff Goldblum is Adam, a Jewish entertainer who is recognized by Commandant Klein (Willem DaFoe), at a concentration, as a talented comedian/musician, etc. from the 1930s.
DaFoe dehumanizes Goldblum by making him mimic the actions of a dog, and years later, Goldblum flashes back to these events as he struggles to maintain his sanity and corral survivors guilt.
Derek Jacobi plays Dr. Nathan Gross at the sanitarium for survivors where Adam (Goldblum) ends up. Once at the sanitarium in the 1960s, Adam (Goldblum) meets a boy who is locked up and acts like a dog. The irony is the boy will become Adams salvation and resurrect his humanity lost long ago.
The subject matter is sure to repel many people and because it is a highly artsy type of film that requires viewers to play intellectual/literary gymnastics with the continuously changing tone of the film and recognizing irony, metaphors, and symbols.
Black comedy, the Holocaust, Jewish guilt, mental illness, and sexual perversion are all woven tightly together and they alternate freely in sharing the focus of any particular scene.
The novel was similar in that narrators appeared who were different from previous narrators in the without readers recognizing them as such.
There is also not a whole lot of action and set changes. Schrader explained the difficulty understanding the film. Confounded viewers expected simple explanations for things instead of discovering something for themselves.
However, this idea of using humor to survive is not new and has been filmed many times before, often to much better effect. Life Is Beautiful comes to mind.
Budget restraints are evident throughout the film with the black and white concentration camp flashbacks masking the modernity of the setting.
Another area in which the low budget is evident is in the Euro-Israeli cast, although it does add an aura of authenticity. Besides the stars Goldblum, DaFoe and Jacobi, the rest of the cast is foreign including the brilliant Ayelet Zurer as Adams (Goldblum) female interest Gina Grey.
As in many lower budget films, the strengths are usually the dialog and acting. In the case of Adam Resurrected, it is mainly the acting of Goldblum and the terrific young boy playing his canine counterpart in the sanitarium: Tudor Rapiteanu. This is a Widescreen Presentation (2.35:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Features of:
High Definition (1080p) presentation of the main feature in 2.35:1 aspect ratio
Audio: English 5.1 Surround, 2.0 Stereo (LPCM)
English SDH and Spanish Subtitles
Audio Commentary with Director Paul Schrader
Behind the Scenes featurette
Haifa International Film Festival Q & A
Original Theatrical Trailer
Special Features May Not Be Rated, Closed Captioned Or In High Definition