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The Statement

  • compiled by Jeffrey Overstreet Copyright Christianity Today International
  • 2003 1 Jan
The Statement

from Film Forum, 08/07/03

The past catches up with a Nazi-collaborating French war criminal in The Statement, the new thriller from acclaimed director Norman Jewison. Michael Caine (Secondhand Lions, The Cider House Rules) plays Pierre Brossard, a character loosely based on Paul Touvier, whose war crimes of WWII led to his 1994 conviction. Working with the German occupiers of France as an officer of the Vichy government, Brossard ordered the killing of seven Jews. Tilda Swinton plays a willful judge in Paris who consents to revive an investigation into Brossard's shady dealings later in his life.

The Statement portrays a Catholic Church that strove to protect war criminals after the war. But Jewison fudges the facts, generalizing in a way that casts the Catholic Church as a conspiracy of wicked men trying to save the church's soiled reputation.

David DiCerto (Catholic News Service) says, "Jewison never seems to decide whether he wants to make a serious study of the abuse of power or a John le Carre cloak-and-dagger thriller." He is also bothered by the film's anti-Catholic leanings, and the fact that it clearly makes heroes of "a lapsed Catholic and an agnostic."