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Thread: Movie Review: "Der Untergang" ["Downfall"] (2004)

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    Administrator Frederik Magle's Avatar
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    Movie Review: \"Der Untergang\" [\"Downfall\"] (2004)

    "Der Untergang" ["Downfall"] (2004)
    (No Spoilers!)

    It has been a couple of months since I saw "Der Untergang" (Downfall), but somehow I can still remember it quite vivivdly, almost like I just saw it a few days ago! That is a good sign for a movie and thus I have decided to post a review of this powerful film.

    Let me cut right to the point and say that I think this is one of the most important movies made in many years. It is also an - at times - extremely hard to view and frightening movie. The story follows the life in and around the Fuhrer Bunker in Berlin in the days leading up to, and surrounding, Adolf Hitler's suicide and the final collapse of the Third Reich. That's a very short period of time and a limited space, but that is one of the (many) brilliant aspects of "Der Untergang". It limits itself, thus allowiing for a much more detailed and involving story to unfold within the selfimposed borders. If it had tried to cover a larger period of time the viewer would most likely not have had an intense and "enlightning" experience. Yes, in a way watching this movie can be enlightning in the sense that the viewer will get a better understanding and picture of exactly how the National Socialism and the Third Reich could come to happen. It does so, amongst other things, by showing the involved people - including Hitler - as people and not the unworldy and demonic monsters they are normally depicted as in most movies.

    There has been a lot of debate whether the movie, by showing the human side of the Hitler, somehow puts him in a more sympathetic light. I, however, feel it is of great importance that people see that "evil" is not always easy to recognice. People doing "evil deeds", often have another side. A friendly, and maybe even charming side. Sometimes they even believe - or make people believe - that they are doing "good" things. I believe that many Germans before (and maybe even during) the war actually thought that Hitler was a good man, doing his best to protect his people and the country against the "enemy" (first the jewish people, then the rest of the world). That is very important to know, and just as relevant today as ever! "Der Untergang" helps us understand the we can easily be deceived and that "evil" likes to disguise itself as good and righteous. However, the film is never apologetic. Instead it shows a nuanced - and I believe truthful - picture of Hitler and the people surrounding him in the last days of the Third Reich, but that does not put their actions in a more positive light in any way. On the contrary, the deeds become even more inhumane when we know they were comitted by humans and not monsters.

    Another element that has been debated is the fact that the film does not "judge" Hitler and the National Socialist. It does not need to remind us of the atrocities commited (though it does state some of them in the opening screen), instead it relies on it's viewer's intelligence and knowledge and simply shows us the final days in the fuhrer bunker almost like an objective documentary - albeit a very filmic intense one.

    All this is of course very interesting, but what really lifts the movie up as a masterpiece is that it tells this important story in a most masterful way. It is simply a great film to watch. The script and the directing is excellent, and the actors are all very believable. Not least Bruno Ganz as "Der Fuhrer" Adolf Hitler in a most impressive and frightfully realistic performance. Even though this movie is made with a lower budget than most Hollywood epics, that does not show. The resources has been spend wisely and the result is a visually stunning work of art.

    The music score also fits perfectly, with a somewhat somber and subdued tone and moments of great and tragic beauty. Not least "When I Am Laid In Earth" from "Dido and Aeneas" by Henry Purcell (as arranged by the composer Stephan Zacharias). Overall the music is very appropriate and strong.

    Don't I have anything bad to say? Are there no faults in this movie? There most likely is, but you see - I simply don't remember any! A second or third viewing will most likely reveal some, but what is significant in this case is the first impression. A first impression so lasting that I can see the imagery for me and recall even small details as I write this review.

    Recommended.

    "Der Untergang" (English title: "Downfall")
    2004
    Directed by: Oliver Hirschbiegel
    With: Bruno Ganz, Alexandra Maria Lara, Corinna Harfouch, Ulrich Matthes and others.
    Written by: Bernd Eichinger based on books by Joachim Fest, Traudl Junge and Melissa Müller
    Original Music composed by Stephan Zacharias

  2. #2
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    Downfall of the Germans?

    I am English first of all. I found this film very interesting and hard hitting. I suppose all of us are a little bit biased towards our own race, but the Nazis took this to a new level. It is exciting to watch whites making a stand. Especially in light of all the trouble we get from other races today. Blacks have rioted, Muslims ... well need I say more.

    I have met Germans and find them extremely attentive people. That is they listen to details and make thoughtful comments. I find as a graduate engineer talking to a German who has no training in engineering they will have better understanding of what I mean than most British graduate engineers. This is very endearing to me as here in a land of technology phobics one can feel very lonely.

    The question is is this loneliness sufficient to sacrifice a moral sense of right and wrong in order to behave like the Nazis and actually feel otherwise understood?

    I have worked in defence and used translations of German books that I found wonderful. Perhaps it was a bit cheeky to use them in order to defend against the Germans and this is what troubles me?

    I perhaps should be asking 'What would have happened positively if the Nazis had won?'. Well I would not have been thumped in the head by black people at school so my eye may work better.

    We would not have a problem with the climate change. My father concedes that the Nazis would have taken very strict action world wide. This is a massive threat. It is judged to kill hundreds of thousands of people worldwide indirectly yearly so this goes some way towards balancing those civilians killed by the Germans.

    I would not have been medicated on a crazy American psychiatric drug that was untested on private medical insurance. I would not have been a victim of violent crime on this and injured and disabled. Another big big plus. The NHS did not think I was ill. (My mother's capitalist social control).

    Furthermore my first girlfriend who took my virginity was a half French anti-Semitic person. I only found this out later. So all this stuff really tugs at my heart and gives me at least a Nazi sympathy.

    I know that if you get a bunch of Germans together with a British graduate you will get more done to lower carbon emissions than with a mixture of other races. They are diligent and accept leaders. They are renowned for this. As this is effectively the least racist activity possible should we still fear the Germans?

    They are very scary, but unlike the Americans and the Chinese they are not stupid. Whether violence is the perceived solution to a problem or not they will set themselves to engineering their way out of it as with lowering CO2 emissions. The Greens enjoy great popularity there and as I am one I have to say the Germans get more admiration from me every day. I keep it quiet as around here I would probably get badly hurt for liking the Germans. I am not talking about the stupid Neo-Nazi gangs who have no education. I mean the well dressed efficient problem solvers who are so perceptive they make my jaw drop open.

    'Believe in the eternal Reich!' pleads the woman to Hitler before he kills himself. Then she kills herself and her children. I don't know about the Reich, but I believe in Germans understanding me.

    See you!

  3. #3
    Duckmeister teddy's Avatar
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    Hello and welcome to the forum. I understand your feelings about the Germans (as opposed th th Nazis). Haveig spent some time there I found them an intelligent and thoughtful race as well as good engineers. Maybe the experiences of the last war helped them become what they are now.

    As far as your political points are concerned the BNP could be the party of your choice. Have you read up on them?


    teddy
    Pining for the South of France

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