Movie of the Day – The Odessa File
December 17, 2011 Leave a comment
So not really a Christmas movie that everyone watches during December. The only Christmas thing about this movie is that it takes place during the holidays and Perry Como sings “Christmas Dream” as the films theme song. But really, can you think of a better Christmas gift to the world than having Jon Voight break up a secret society of former Nazi’s from building missiles that are meant to strike Israel? I think not.
Jon Voight plays Peter Miller, a German reporter who is investigating the whereabouts of missing Nazi war criminals. After reading the diary of a Holocaust survivor who has recently committed suicide, Miller goes on the trail of in-hiding SS officer Eduard Roschmann (Maximilian Schell). The reporter finds his investigation blocked by members of a secretive group called Odessa. With the help of Israeli activists, Miller persists in his search. Schell‘s sister Maria also appears in The Odessa File as Miller’s mother, the widow of a German soldier. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi
I have a small affinity for the movie, mainly because Jon Voight’s in the movie and he is pretty badass as a Nazi hunter. The film has a pretty hefty score by Andrew Lloyd Webber, which for a movie like this, certainly helps. I don’t want it to seem like that statement means that the film is bad without the score, but the film is pretty long and often sags in story at several points. The opening and closing scenes of the movie are fantastic, with some pretty unique ploys and development, but just not enough momentum at the bookends to make up for some of the lagging story beats.
The Odessa File is kind of a strange bag of a movie. The opening theme is interesting since it is so electronically produced you get the feeling that this would have been better placed in like a sci-fi movie. It kind of adds the viewing pleasure of the movie, but there are only a couple of things that detract from the viewing, mainly some plot points and general acceptance of things that happen on screen. I will say that if it is your first time watching the movie, you will enjoy it. The ending is a really strong one that should be viewed to see. Don’t try to read any literature about the movie or even the book it is based on so as not to spoil a lot of it. But in reality you should read the book just for the sake of reading. I mean I got to at least instill some reading values in my readers.
So I am pretty sure this won’t end up on your family’s television while you open up Christmas presents, but it is a pretty damn entertaining movie. Early Jon Voight is a lot better than later Jon Voight in my opinion, and the strong adaptation of the novel to screen is fantastic, even though it suffers from some of the same flaws that plagued the book. Overall, Jon Voight makes us all proud by, in a roundabout way, saves the Christmas season. Even with the accompaniment of Perry Como’s “Christmas Dream” playing.