Oscar-Winning Holocaust Drama Tops All the Netflix Hits on Streaming Chart

Oscar-Winning Holocaust Drama Tops All the Netflix Hits on Streaming Chart
Image credit: A24

… and Steven Spielberg gave it a very high compliment.


  • In spite of its difficult subject matter, a Holocaust drama has topped the most-watched lists across every streamer.
  • The movie was nominated for five Oscars.
  • The movie's director did some disturbing real-life research that went directly into the movie.

Holocaust movies don't come around nearly as often as, say, spy dramas or rom-coms about ugly duckling teens. That's probably because the pressure to get it right is so high – Holocaust movies deal with the absolute worst of humanity, and you can never get away from the fact these were real people.

However, Hollywood's latest Holocaust drama was not only nominated for five Academy Awards, it's now also beaten out thousands of other titles to become the most-watched title across streaming services.

Coming Out At Number One

During the week of April 4 to 11, there were a number of big-ticket movies and shows that became available to stream for the first time. That includes Ewan McGregor 's new series A Gentleman in Moscow, the Oscar-winning movie Poor Things, and the new Thomas Ripley series starring Andrew Scott.

It might seem unlikely that an untraditionally structured Holocaust drama could beat out all of these big names, but The Zone of Interest finished first on ReelGood's chart for the week. ReelGood assembles data from across streaming platforms, meaning that this Max release topped not only the HBO streamer but also beat out shows on Prime and Netflix.

In spite of its difficult subject matter, the movie also did well at the box office, grossing $40 million against a relatively modest budget of only $15 million. It carries an impressive 93% on Rotten Tomatoes, though perhaps the highest compliment the movie has received has been from the legendary director Steven Spielberg. Spielberg, who directed 1993's Schindler's List, has called The Zone of Interest 'the best Holocaust movie I've witnessed since my own. '

What's It About?

The Zone of Interest is based on a novel by Martin Amis, which is in turn based on the real life Höss family. Rudolf Höss was the longest-serving commandant of Auschwitz concentration camp, and he kept a beautiful family residence just on the other side of the wall from the camp grounds.

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The movie never directly shows us the horrors of what is happening next door. Instead, we get distant noises, clouds of smoke, and constant grim reminders – like when Höss takes his children swimming in the river and sees human remains that have traveled downstream from the camp. He gets his children out of the water and sends a stern note to the camp wardens before continuing on with his day-to-day life.

The Banality of Evil

Director Jonathan Glazer has noted that our idea of Nazis has become cartoonishly evil, which allows us the comfort of feeling distanced from these characters. In an interview with the Hollywood Reporter, Glaser said:

'The more I read about these people, the Höss family, the more they became demystified to me. So much cinema, particularly to do with the Holocaust, shows the perpetrators as almost mythologically evil. I realized I wanted to make a film about these people and their ordinariness. I didn't want to glorify or fetishize them by accident.'

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Taking Inspiration From Real Life

When visiting the real-life location of the Höss home, Glazer was struck by its proximity to the camp, with an idyllic family home separated from horror by a single wall. Prisoners would have been able to hear children laughing and playing in the yard even while starving to death. Glazer explained that the wall became an important part of the film:

'That wall is a direct manifestation of how we ourselves as human beings compartmentalize the things we were happy to indulge in and surround ourselves with and the things — sometimes horrible things — we want to disassociate ourselves from. That became the axiom of the whole endeavor.'

The Zone of Interest is available to stream on Max.

Source: The Hollywood Reporter.