As hard as this tale tries to find the right balance of comedy and horror like Life Is Beautiful, Jakob will have audiences wondering why they're sitting through two hours of Holocaust horrors with so little to drive the plot. Williams gets caught in a fib when he tells fellow Polish ghetto residents the Russians are close to ending the war and sending the Germans into surrender.
When his lie spreads throughout the ghetto--raising the hopes of the captive Jews and the ire of the soldiers--violence erupts and even more tragedy ensues. Not an absolute disaster, but it's easy to see why Williams is going back to stand-up. Did you hear the one about the comic with no punch lines? We did.