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"The Last Sentence": A Famous Critic of the Nazis Gets All the Ladies 

Wednesday, Jul 9 2014

Jan Troell's drama The Last Sentence follows the travails of real-life Swedish journalist, anti-fascist, and incorrigible dog person Torgny Segerstedt (Jesper Christensen) during World War II. The elderly Segerstedt was an outspoken opponent against the rise of Nazism, openly insulting Hitler in the press before it was cool to do so, urging his country to set aside its neutrality and take up arms against the Nazis. Unfortunately, the picture gets hung up on the less interesting aspects of Segerstedt's life during wartime. Far too much attention is given to his infidelities and other romantic problems — he was apparently a sex machine to all the middle-aged Swedish chicks — to the extent that when the focus returns to the politics of the war, it's easy to forget that it's happening in the first place. The use of generic stock footage of Hitler and marching Nazis doesn't help, feeling detached from the narrative. Some attempts are made to weave the two threads together, as Segerstedt tries to come to terms with his own internal darkness while darkness spreads in the outside world, but they never quite mesh. In the plus column, The Last Sentence does feature a number of loving close-ups of old-timey printing presses at work in glorious black-and-white.

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Sherilyn Connelly


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