From France, The Round Up is a long, dull, straightforward dramatization of that country's Vichy collaboration with the Nazis during the summer of 1942. Mélanie Laurent, who so fiercely battled the Krauts in Inglourious Basterds, here plays a French nurse who valiantly tends to the children of some 13,000 incarcerated Parisian Jews. Jean Reno is the equally saintly Jewish doctor who must, inevitably, accompany his patients all the way east to the camps. The nurse travels as far as she can to help, wearily fingers her crucifix, and vainly appeals to her superiors for the food and medicine that are promised but never delivered. She's a stand-in for France as it would like to imagine itself. France as it was we see in the ruthless bureaucratic apparatus that tallies each Jewish household and detainee as the authorities try to meet German arrest quotas. It's all about the numbers. Yet like Spielberg and other Holocaust-movie directors before her, writer/director Roselyne Bosch places too much weight on cute-kid exceptionalism in a process that, we know from the historical record, made no such exceptions. There aren't any surprises—nor much violence—in a movie we've seen too many times before. The Round Up is an essentially didactic project, mainly useful in France for educating young viewers about what grand-père did during the war. If that question is still being asked.
Laurent as the saintly nurse.
Runs at SIFF Cinema, Fri., March 25â€“ Thurs., March 31. Not rated. 120 minutes.