Ben Foster Gives a Knockout Performance in ‘The Survivor,’ a Brutal and Sobering Film

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On the surface, the title for Barry Levinson’s The Survivor seems to be derived from Harry Haft’s title as “The Survivor of Auschwitz,” but on a much deeper level, it is because his survival is marred by survivor’s guilt.

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In the wake of the horrors of the Holocaust, Harry Haft makes a name for himself as an up-and-coming boxer in New York City, but the origins of that skill comes from his harrowing experience in the Nazi concentration camps.

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Rather than simply telling us what happened to Haft, Levinson explores the grotesque and traumatizing experience through a series of black-and-white flashbacks.

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In these flashbacks, the smarmy and manipulative Nazi Dietrich Schneider  takes Haft under his wing after witnessing him brawl with an officer. He weaponizes his strength, training him as a boxer.

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The Survivor had its world premiere this week at the Toronto International Film Festival. A release date has not yet been set. 

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