Edges of the Lord


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Rating: R

Haley Joel Osment as Romek
Willem Dafoe as Priest
Liam Hess as Tolo
Richard Banel as Vladek
Olaf Lubaszenko as Gniecio
Malgorzata Foremniak as Manka
Andrzej Grabowski as Kluba
Chiril Vahonin as Robal
Ola Frycz as Maria
Dorota Piasecka as Ela Kluba
Wojciech Smolarz as Pyra
Marek Weglarski as Max
Edyta Jurecka as Sara
Ryszard Ronczewski as Batylin
Krystyna Feldman as Wanda

Special Features:

Other Info:
Widescreen (1.85:1)
Dolby Digital Sound
French and Spanish Subtitles
Running Time: 98 Minutes

This film was originally released in 2001. The following is from the DVD cover:

“Haley Joel Osment (“Secondhand Lions,” “A.I. Artificial Intelligence,” “The Sixth Sense”) and Willem Dafoe (“The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou,” “Spider-Man”) star in Edges of the Lord, an inspiring and enthralling story from Millennium Films and Miramax Home Entertainment. To escape an unthinkable fate, a young Jewish boy’s (Osment) parents send him to the countryside. Spirited away from the Nazi occupied city in a gunnysack, he’s taken in by a kind village farmer with children of his own, masquerades as the farmer’s nephew and is coached by the parish priest (Dafoe). Filled with outstanding performances and brilliantly written, this triumphant film is sure to capture your heart.”

Edges of the Lord is rated R for some violence and sexual content.

The Movie:
Edges of the Lord is one of those films that is wonderfully acted, beautifully shot, and well written, but the subject matter is so heart wrenching that it is difficult if not impossible to enjoy. The film is similar to Schindler’s List in that it unflinchingly depicts the horrors of the Holocaust in WWII, but in this movie it shows the story from the point of view of a displaced Jewish boy. The fact that those horrors are inflicted upon children whom you grow close to through the course of the story makes it all the more unbearable to watch. For this reason I find the film hard to recommend to people.

Edges of the Lord stars two of my favorite actors, Willem Dafoe and Haley Joel Osment. Haley Joel Osment leads the cast as Romek. While his fake Polish accent is hard to take at times, he portrays the character with enough emotion that you quickly buy him in the role. His drive to learn everything about Catholicism in order to hide the fact that he’s Jewish is a tough thing to watch. Romek ends up knowing the religion better than the Catholic children he lives with. He is taught in the film by Willem Dafoe who plays the Priest. He desperately tries to save anyone he can from the Nazis whether they are local peasants or Jewish children. He’s a tortured soul who helps guide everyone in the film though he doesn’t have much screentime.

However, the performance that is most memorable in the film is that of Liam Hess as Tolo. He is a little boy who becomes obsessed with imitating Jesus. He tries to put nails in his hands. He has his friends tie him to a tree like on a cross. He tries to heal people and raise the dead. His efforts become almost scary. His final fate in the movie is also quite terrifying and haunts you well after the film is over.

Like many films about the Holocaust, this movie portrays a lot of the atrocities inflicted upon the Jews. You see them tortured, robbed, herded onto trains, hunted, murdered, and more. You also see non-Jews get the same treatment. It’s really tough to watch. If you’re up for it, then I think this film will impress you. If you’re a fan of Osment or Dafoe, then I think Edges of the Lord is a movie you will want to check out. But if you’re looking for lighter fare, this isn’t it.

The Extras:
There are no bonus features included on this DVD.

The Bottom Line:
Edges of the Lord features a powerful story and fine performances by Willem Dafoe and Haley Joel Osment, but the subject matter featuring the Holocaust is extremely difficult to watch.