In the Fade (2017)

  • Time: 106 min
  • Genre: Crime | Drama
  • Director: Fatih Akin
  • Cast: Diane Kruger, Numan Acar, Ulrich Tukur


Katja’s (Diane Kruger) had met Turkish-born Kurdish Nuri Sekerci (Numan Acar) when she bought hashish from him during her student days. They got married when he was still in prison, although their parents were against the marriage. Since her son Rocco (Rafael Santana) is born, Nuri is no longer working as a drug dealer, because he studied business administration in prison and now runs a translation and tax office in Hamburg. One day Rocco and Nuri are killed by a nail bomb, which was deposited in front of the office. This has shredded everything. Because her husband was in prison for drug possession, the police investigated in the red light district. The investigators do not see that the tracks point in a completely different direction. Then they happen to be the real killers on the net. The main suspects are the neo-Nazi spouses André (Ulrich Brandhoff) and Edda Möller (Hanna Hilsdorf). But the trial is developing differently than Katja had hoped. Although her lawyer Danilo (Denis Moschitto) speaks of a watertight evidence, defender Haberbeck (Johannes Krisch) manages to settle the case in favor of the defendants. Humiliated and destroyed by the trial, Katja sees no reason to continue living. If she wants to give meaning to her life again, she has to take the law into her own hands.

One comment

  • On paper, In the Fade (Aus dem Nichts), the latest effort from writer-producer-director Fatih Akin, reads like a Lifetime movie of the week. However, Diane Kruger’s staggering portrayal of a woman who takes matters into her own hands when the law fails to deliver justice ensures that the melodrama is firmly rooted in emotional realism.

    The film begins with video footage of the jailhouse wedding between Kruger’s Katja, blonde and tattooed, and Nuri (Numan Acar), a Kurdish man convicted for drug dealing. Cut to about six or seven years later: the couple are parents to beloved son Rocco and on the straight and narrow; Nuri is a tax advisor and translator, Katja is his bookkeeper. Even in these brief moments, Kruger and Acar create a believably affectionate couple who are happily mired in domestic bliss, which makes what follows even more heartbreaking.

    Having left Rocco with Nuri in his office so she can have a spa day with pregnant girlfriend Birgit (Samia Chancrin), Katja returns later that night to find police surrounding the street. A nail bomb has gone off in front of Nuri’s office and, much to her horror, both her husband and son are confirmed fatalities. Her grief and outrage are further compounded when the presumably dormant hostilities between her parents and in-laws, all of whom had been opposed to the marriage, resurface and, most significantly, when she realises that the police are intent on placing the blame on Nuri’s criminal connections despite her repeated assertions that her husband was wholly rehabilitated and her theory that neo-Nazis were behind the bombing.

    Though Katja turns out to be right and the suspects arrested and charged, she endures an arguably more harrowing ordeal during the trial. Her position as both co-plaintiff and prosecution witness renders her a target for the ruthless defense lawyer Haberbeck (Johannes Krisch), though her friend and lawyer Danilo Fava (Denis Moschitto) is both conscientious and cunning enough to ward off Haberbeck’s attacks. As blunt and unsubtle as the first two-thirds of In the Fade are, they actually stand up better to scrutiny than the last-third when the film pivots to a revenge drama. Something in Akin wavers during this section and, whilst Katja’s motivations are well-defined and completely understandable, she feels less multi-dimensional here, less a character than a deus ex machina.

    For all its faults, In the Fade is ultimately powerful and affecting and filled with remarkable sequences, none more striking than Katja in the bathtub, blood from her slit wrists staining the water as she prepares to submerge into nothingness. Yet from that nothingness she emerges, determined to get justice for Nuri and Rocco.

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