Never Look Away review – epic but uneven melodrama inspired by Gerhard Richter

This fictionalised story of the artist by the director of The Lives of Others lacks a strong central performance to match its ambition

With his Oscar-winning debut The Lives of Others in 2006, Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck made an important movie about the intellectual squalor of postwar East Germany, featuring a Stasi spy whose life of bugging and listening-in betrays his own emotional bankruptcy – and that of an entire ideology. But Donnersmarck’s following film was the lacklustre caper The Tourist starring Angelina Jolie and Johnny Depp in 2010. Now here is his third film, Werk Ohne Autor (that is: Work Without Author – although it has been assigned the English title Never Look Away) which received Oscar nominations for best foreign film and best cinematography.

It’s an unevenly acted and sometimes frankly misjudged sexy-sentimental melodrama of epic length set in Germany of the 1930s, 40s, 50s and 60s, based on the
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