Downfall (2004)

May 13, 2011 § Leave a comment

Bruno Ganz as Adolf Hitler in 'Downfall'

Script by Bernd Eichinger

Directed by Oliver Hischbiegel

Starring Bruno Ganz

National Socialism was a travesty of human error we as citizens of the world will never live down. If Downfall is an accurate depiction of the executive branch of the Nazi party’s last days, then I have to say, I hate the Nazis a little bit less. This is such a human depiction of inhuman action that you can’t help but feel mostly pity for these people. As Hitler, Bruno Ganz is nothing less than electrifying. He’s a crippled, egomaniacal psychopath with severe delusions of grandeur and just about everybody knew it, but did nothing. (Sort of like another recently disposed despot at large, ahem…) Some were loyal to the end. Their loyalty defied logic, but then so did the depth of Hitlers bigotry and such is the folly of man, that once someone is selected as leader, they must go to great lengths of stupidity for their followers to defy them and try to change the course of a community.

This, perhaps, was Germany’s greatest misstep. These were people, many of whom were loyal to Germany, not the Nazi party- and the film shows it. Its a sad film about a sad situation, the other side of an all too well documented part of history. There are moments in life when people know they shouldn’t do something but they don’t stop. Germany experienced this for about ten years, sadly. The often used analogy of a slow moving train wreck is quite apt.

The minute detail with which Nazi Germany’s final days are explored in Downfall is mind boggling for a film only two and a half hours long. I see the Nazis as more human than before, which I suppose was the goal of picture. I say bravo. Perhaps it’s not a fun film or an enjoyable viewing experience, but it’s important and for that I respect the film and consider it indispensable viewing material for anybody that wants to understand both sides of an important piece of history.


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