A refugee’s wartime mys­tery, with a twist

The Buffalo News - - WEATHER -

of “Tran­sit” is re­al­is­tic up to a point: There are no cell­phones, and the clothes peo­ple wear don’t seem to be­long to any par­tic­u­lar pe­riod. We’re never en­cour­aged to set­tle into the movie’s ver­sion of the present tense. Pet­zold’s tech­nique is clean, de­void of sur­face flash; cin­e­matog­ra­pher Hans Fromm fa­vors the sunny, sea­side mi­lieu, so that Ge­org be­comes less of a film noir archetype and more of an Everyman, squint­ing into the sun, puz­zling over his new iden­tity. “Tran­sit” is barely an hour and a half in length but it takes its time.

The cast­ing’s marvelous, from Ro­gowski’s plain­tive, some­what dazed Ge­org (he looks like Joaquin Phoenix’s over­seas cousin) to Ira­nian ac­tress Maryam Za­ree, as the mother of the boy be­friended by Ge­org. What emerges in “Tran­sit” is a fresco of dis­place­ment, of peo­ple on the run but stuck in place.

In “Tran­sit,” the refugees are nei­ther here nor there; they’re then and now. And es­cape comes only for the lucky few.

Mu­sic Box Films

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