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Review: Downfall (2005)

Downfall (2005) 

Directed by: Oliver Hirschbiegel

Premise: The story of the last days of Adolf Hitler (Bruno Ganz) and Nazi Germany as seen through the eyes of his secretary Traudl Junge (Alexandra Maria Lara).

What Works: Downfall is a superb film that puts a human face on the tragedy of Nazi Germany. Although Hitler has been portrayed in film many times, Ganz portrayal is one of the best ever seen. He captures the collapse of Hitler’s dream in a way that capitalizes on the tragedy. The story draws out the collapse of Berlin and the impending doom for those involved in a way that is dramatically satisfying but does not excuse the character’s responsibility for atrocities.

What Doesn’t: The film assumes that the viewers have some knowledge about Hitler’s chain of command. While the film does not demand too much, viewers with limited knowledge of World War II and Nazi Germany might find themselves a little lost.

DVD extras: Commentary, featurette, interviews.

Bottom Line: Downfall is one of the best World War II film ever made. It dares to honestly explore the fall of the Nazi ideology and the emotional and physical fate of the architects of that ideology.

Episode: #76 (December 4, 2005)