- Movie Rating -

Train of Life (1998)

| September 16, 1998

There is a very fine line that you walk when you are trying to make a comedy about a subject as difficult as the holocaust. Roberto Benigni walked that line with “Life is Beautiful” and never stepped wrong. He knew how to have the trickiest balance between humor and the darkest horror man has ever known.

One can imagine how Benigni could have gone wrong. But for an example there is “Train of Life”, a shameful exercise in filmmaking whose premise is intriguing, whose script is embarrassing and whose ending is a kick in the face.

Here is the intriguing premise: In 1941 the people of a small Jewish community become aware that Hitler is killing Jews in Europe. Fearing that they could be deported, they decide to fake their own deportation by stealing a train, making Nazi uniforms and heading for Pakistan, thereby deceiving the Nazi and saving their lives.

The embarrassing script gives us a cast of cartoonish characters who spend 90% of the film squabbling. There is no tension in the scenes where the train in stopped by the Nazis because the Nazis in this film are so dimwitted that they would fall for anything! Now for the ending: The ending (which I won’t give away) I suppose is supposed to be poignant or funny or touching but found it to be shameful. With so many denying that the holocaust ever happened, we don’t need a film this trite. The movie takes this subject and grinds it down to a rather unfunny sitcom.

About the Author:

Jerry Roberts is a film critic and operator of two websites, Armchair Cinema and Armchair Oscars.
(1998) View IMDB Filed in: Uncategorized