It is strange to compare Martin Campbell's 2017 action flick, The Foreigner, to a Cannes-selected and Golden Globe-winning film. But, coincidentally, In The Fade has a plot that is very similar to The Foreigner. Both follow a protagonist who loses a loved one in an explosion, in which said protagonist goes on a journey to seek vengeance. In both films, the antagonist(s) is part of a political group. So, in my opinion, it all comes down to this - which film did things differently and more outstanding than the other? My answer would be In The Fade. No offense to The Foreigner; I personally had a blast with that film and I thought it featured one of Jackie Chan’s best performances in recent memory. However, with In The Fade, the emotional impact of grief and other thematic elements shown in the film is much more complex and human compared to The Foreigner.
In The Fade’s “revenge” tale doesn’t even occur until the final act. In The Fade is about reconciliation and the power of grief that can turn any good-hearted person into a depressed human with not much to hold on to. This is effectively done well thanks to Diane Kruger’s performance. Kruger sells the grief and depression aspect of the film in a realistic and accurate manner that other pieces of entertainment, such as 13 Reasons Why, would die for. Another aspect I thought was pretty well established was the family bond between characters. Based on approximately 5 minutes of screen time between the family, you can see several different details of each member’s personality and quirks. This even includes the 6-year-old son in the film.
However, when making a film such as In The Fade, there is a definite inevitability that at one point the film would eventually drag on and/or become repetitive. While it is not as bad as some other films, In The Fade’s first act semi-dragged on and distracted the purpose of the film. Sure, said scenes that I’m referring to do help the plot, but the execution of said scenes missed the margin in actually developing its characters. In other terms, it was a missed opportunity and it was one that could have easily been fixed and done with another rewrite or two. Because of this weak narrative writing flaw, the pacing and character arcs throughout the entire production were negatively affected.
Other criticisms include some weak camera work, including unnecessary shaky cam, a relatively boring musical score, and some moments of cheese. However, other than those few negatives, In The Fade is definitely worth your time. While some may think it is a bit of a slow burn, it is worth sitting through, especially for that last long take at the end. In The Fade is a good film that should be admired. It is an intellectual movie on grief that never portrays its subject in a negative way, and is honest and entertaining all throughout.