Fateless Review

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Gyuri is a teenage hungarian Jew who is rounded up and put into Nazi work camps at the beginning of the Holocaust. His hand-to-mouth existence, where his death could always be only minutes away, spells the end of his innocence.


This tale of a young Hungarian Jew’s experiences in the Nazi death camps must be the most handsome Holocaust drama ever. Made by a cinematographer-turned-director armed with the biggest budget in Hungarian cinematic history, Fateless is so sumptuous and stylised that genocide takes on a somewhat stately dimension. Adapted from Imre Kertész’s Nobel Prize-winning autobiographical novel, the film follows teenager Gyuri (Nagy) as he’s shipped from Budapest to the camps, before returning home to try and make sense of it all.

We’re meant to see the camps with a naive adolescent eye, but director Koltai misjudges his material, and his fastidious paletting and highly orchestrated set-pieces are curiously low-impact; beautiful where they should be beastly.

Holocaust drama shot like costume drama, creating a sense of aesthetic disharmony.