Title:  Jakob the Liar

Release Date:  1999

Nationality and Language: USA/France , English

Running time: 120 min

MPAA Rating: PG-13

Distributor and Production Company:  Columbia

Director; Writer: Peter Kassovitz, based on a novel by Jurek Besser


Cast:   Robin Williams, Liev Schreiber


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Movie Review of Jakob the Liar

Columbia Pictures

Robin Williams, Liev Schreiber

115 Minutes


Normal Aspect ratio


Well, a movie about the expect emancipation of a Nazi-run ghetto in Poland (for Jews) fits Columbia's corporate trademark, the Statue of Liberty with the rising and transposing musical scales. But this film evokes little of the humor of Life is Beautiful, the stark horror of Schindler's List, or the historical sweep of War and Remembrance (in which Teresienstadt is so chilling shown), or the explicit character of Bent.

Jakob Heim's (Robin Williams) humor seems forced, and the whole picture seems a bit staged and minamalist. Nevertheless, it makes a point. That is, an individual setting up his own soap box. Here, the hero's motive is to tell little lies (about radio broadcasts of upcoming rescue) to make the other camp members feel better and to stop the suicides. My motive (for Do Ask Do Tell) was the opposite: to tell the truth and force a debate about the truth. Nevertheless, both of us buck the system.

I noted the charismatic character Mischa, played by Live Schreiber, a protective and vigorous young man who comes out of the whole ordeal too unscathed to be believed.

Nevertheless, in the final scene, Jakob's fibs turn out to be partially or mostly true after all.




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