By Steven Snyder

Is Lukas a monster?

That is the question that pushes “The Memory Thief” towards its harrowing finale, as writer-director Gil Kofman holds this young man up to the light, twists him this way and that, and asks the audience to pass judgment. In the process, we find ourselves measuring our own morals and behaviors against his.

The memories Lukas (Mark Webber) eventually steals—experiences he appropriates out of a desire to understand and mourn—are those of Holocaust survivors. It’s a subject he doesn’t know much about, living out a tedious life as a worker in a highway tollbooth. But all that changes when one day a racist driver tosses a copy of Adolf Hitler’s “Mein Kampf” into the booth. Later, flipping through the book, Lukas is accosted by an elderly Jewish driver who is disgusted by the sight of a neo-Nazi. Determined to set Lukas straight, this elderly driver throws a video tape into the booth.


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