Dead Europe is as nuanced a quasi-political savaging as its title suggests. Director Tony Krawitz adapts a stygian Christos Tsiolkas novel to his own ends, positioning the socioeconomic decay of all Europe as penance for its sins against Jews. The knotty plot follows Isaac (Ewen Leslie), a Greek-Australian gay art photographer tracing family secrets through the fatherland. Dad’s ashes in one hand, camera in the other, Isaac finds himself haunted by a young Jewish boy (raw talent Kodi Smit-McPhee) and horrified when he finds out why. But by then, a pile-on of drugs, sex, magic, corruption and corpse-heavy symbolism have obscured the film’s revelatory potential. Like Everything is Illuminated without any light, this historical psychodrama serves best as a Grimm-style cautionary tale for backpacking kids.
Sept. 15, 6 p.m., Scotiabank.