(Ro, LL, VV, SS, NN, A, D, M) Romantic worldview of heroism through espionage & marital love; 6 obscenities & 5 profanities; images & threats of war, raid on house, suicide, man kicks & abuses man, man strikes child, man cuts hand, & references of rape; foreplay between married couple & implied marital sex; upper male & female nudity; alcohol use; smoking; and, betrayal & deception themes
MOTHER NIGHT is about Howard Campbell, an American playwright living in Germany, who acts as a spy for the US government during World War II. When the war is over, Campbell moves to New York City but is eventually hunted down by both neo-Nazi groups and the nation of Israel. Though thought-provoking and well photographed, it has some offensive humor and odd characterizations.
Combining humor, romance and black comedy into an eager but uneven adaptation of Kurt Vonnegut’s novel, MOTHER NIGHT focuses on American Howard Campbell, who lives in National Socialist Germany and serves as a spy for the U.S. government. In the late 1930’s, Campbell becomes very well known around Germany as a skilled playwright, which places him in the company of many military leaders. One day, he is approached by an American agent who presents him with an offer he can’t refuse. His mission is to assume the role of National Socialist sympathizer and produce a weekly radio show espousing National Socialist ideals, which would serve as a front for sending secret information to the Allies. With his true purpose known only to a few, Campbell becomes a hero in Germany and a villain in the United States.
This movie has a fascinating premise and is told with skillful direction, photography and acting. However, this movie fails on three points: cuts, characterization and comedy. There are some transitions in the movie which happen too quickly without explanation that they seem to cheapen the integrity of the story. Anti-Semitism and National Socialist aren’t laughing matters. This movie also contains some violence, marital sex and obscenities.