Downfall (2005)

To see a monster up close, you may see things you marvel at or you may just be more enraged because of what you know the monster is. Looking at characters is one thing but a characterization of Hitler is one that brings loaded expectations for everybody. I didn’t feel sympathy for him and I was not enraged. Instead, I felt as if I was watching a lost man in a house of mirrors. Progressively, he deteriorated mind, body, and spirit.

Downfall (2004) Der Untergang (original title) R | 2h 36min | Biography , Drama , History | 8 April 2005 (USA) Traudl Junge, the final secretary for Adolf Hitler, tells of the Nazi dictator’s final days in his Berlin bunker at the end of WWII. Director: Oliver Hirschbiegel Writers: Bernd Eichinger (screenplay), Joachim Fest (book) | 2 more credits » Stars: Bruno Ganz, Alexandra Maria Lara, Ulrich Matthes

This is a German film with English subtitles. That was encouraging to me because we by proxy sometimes still think of Germany as the aggressor. Rather than take sides though, this follows a carefully written and well acted script of life in Hitler’s bunker during the endgame period of WWII.

This is a somber, reflective piece that needs the viewer’s attention. Not all English-speaking viewers will want to slow down and read subtitles for this theatrical docudrama. If the planets are in alignment, as they were for me, it is a truly powerful rendering of what happened in those final days. Like humans do, he “wore out.” It’s a reminder that no human should have that much power. Perhaps if his country had been in a stronger economic state, it wouldn’t have followed and obeyed his psychotic leadership so long. There are scenes where we are tempted to like Hitler, for example when he interacts with his dog, but the very essence of the film’s theme keeps the horror of the man alive in our subconscious. It is a haunting film that way.

This is an excellent telling of what happened to Hitler at the end of the Nazi regime and second world war. If you have the time to sit and really absorb it, you won’t be sorry. 8/10

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