Son of Saul

Rated 2.0

At Auschwitz during World War II, a Sonderkommando—that is, a Jewish prisoner forced to work disposing of the corpses of his fellow Jews—finds one body he believes is that of his teenage son, then goes seeking a rabbi to say the proper prayers over the boy. This Hungarian drama from writer-director László Nemes won the 2015 Golden Globe for foreign-language film, and looks like the front-runner for an Oscar as well. But it’s turgid and uninvolving, a dreary downer even beyond the tragic subject matter. It’s never really clear what’s going on or what the characters are talking about, or even who the main character is or why he thinks this is his son. Nemes stages nearly the whole movie as one long close-up of leading man Géza Röhrig, and his numb, expressionless face quickly becomes a boring presence. J.L.