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Never Look Away(Werk ohne Autor)

After fleeing East Germany, Kurt Barnert, an art student, now lives in West Germany. However, his past begins to haunt him when he meets a fellow student, Ellie, and begins to fall in love with her, much to her secretive father's dismay.
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WHAT ARE CRITICS SAYING?

58

IndieWire by David Ehrlich

In emphasizing how art allows us to make sense of the past, and consecrate even the most banal of sins, Von Donnersmarck loses his grip on the emotional payoff of the present.
85

Film Journal International by Doris Toumarkine

Never Look Away, a cohesively integrated collage of many genres (history, war, crime, medical drama with romance and spectacle), is also a feast of fine acting and magnificent visuals. But with so much going on, viewers, as if confronting impressionistic paintings or pixel-based photorealistic portraitures, need to step away to get a better picture.
58

The A.V. Club by Ignatiy Vishnevetsky

We watch as the film moves from year to year, the characters sometimes disappearing illogically, with Kurt forever at work on one unsatisfying project or another, until he finally finds a subject that speaks only to him. The movie’s German title — Werk Ohne Autor, which means Work Without Author — seems almost too apt.
70

Variety by Jessica Kiang

One of the subtler strengths of Never Look Away is the canny evocation of a war-weary, defeated population who did not experience communism as a revolution but a substitution. The insignia and the catechisms changed, but the underlying attitudes remained grotesquely similar in their callous prioritization of dogma over decency.
80

Los Angeles Times by Justin Chang

The lines between good and evil are clearly demarcated at the outset and remain more or less fixed as the story progresses, a strategy that in no way compromises the filmmaker’s ability to mine fresh complications and surprises from his story.
50

The Globe and Mail (Toronto) by Kate Taylor

As Kurt finds his true art in the West, thanks to the help of a fictional version of Joseph Beuys, the film turns gripping, but it ultimately reduces art appreciation to the autobiographical.
88

RogerEbert.com by Sheila O'Malley

At a daunting 188 minutes long, Never Look Away takes its time, doesn't force its themes. Like one of those novels that follows a family through multiple generations, Never Look Away follows Kurt from Dresden, to Düsseldorf, to Berlin.
80

TheWrap by Steve Pond

In the end, Donnersmarck has it both ways: He’s sentimental and he’s provocative, a craftsman who has something to say and it going to take his time saying it.

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