Fatih Akin’s In the Fade won the Golden Globes award for best foreign language film, and Diane Kruger won the best actress award at the Cannes Film Festival. Kruger plays Katja, to whom we are introduced during her wedding in a prison with Kurdish Nuri, who is serving a term for drug dealing. Flash forward and they are happily married with a wiseacre six-year-old son named Rocco. Nuri and Katja run a travel agency and tax return business in a Turkish neighborhood in Hamburg, and they are doing well financially.
Katja goes out with a girlfriend, leaving Rocco at the office with Nuri. When she returns, she discovers that someone has bombed the office, killing her husband and their son. The authorities assume that the attack is connected with Nuri’s drug-dealing past or maybe political conflicts in the Turkish/Kurdish community.
Katja however, recalls that upon leaving the office, she encountered a young white woman whom she admonished for failing to lock her bicycle. Katja is convinced that the real murderers are racist Neo-Nazis.
Katja is not a heroic heroine. She is a drug-taker and, left to her own devices, something of a low-life. Finally, she enters a bathtub and slashes her wrists. As the water turns red, her phone rings. It’s her lawyer informing her that the police have arrested and charged a Neo-Nazi couple, the Möllers, for the murder.
Act two of the film is a prolonged and maddening trial. Despite the fact that the Möllers are obviously guilty, they are acquitted because of “reasonable doubt.”
This leads to act three: Katja’s decision to seek revenge by taking the law into her own hands.
The unfortunate English-language title, In the Fade, comes from a song by Queens of the Stone Age. According to Akin, the German title is untranslatable. The literal translation is “Out of Nothing” or “Out of the Blue.”