Author Topic: Der Untergang (The Downfall) (2004)  (Read 2593 times)

Offline Antares

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Der Untergang (The Downfall) (2004)
« on: December 08, 2009, 05:52:29 PM »
Der Untergang





Year: 2004
Film Studio: Newmarket Films, Constantin Film
Genre: War, Drama
Length: 156 Min.

Director
Oliver Hirschbiegel (1957)

Writing
Joachim Fest (1926)...Book
Traudl Junge (1920)...Book "Bis Zur Letzten Stunde"
Melissa Müller...Book "Bis Zur Letzten Stunde"
Bernd Eichinger (1949)...Screenplay

Producer
Wolf-Dietrich Brücker
Bernd Eichinger (1949)
Doris J. Heinze (1949)
Jörn Klamroth
Christine Rothe

Cinematographer
Rainer Klausmann (1949)

Music
Stephan Zacharias (1956)...Composer

Stars
Bruno Ganz (1941) as Adolf Hitler
Alexandra Maria Lara (1978) as Traudl Junge
Corinna Harfouch (1954) as Magda Goebbels
Ulrich Matthes (1959) as Joseph Goebbels
Juliane Köhler (1965) as Eva Braun
Heino Ferch (1963) as Albert Speer
Christian Berkel (1957) as Prof. Dr. Ernst-Günter Schenck
Matthias Habich (1940) as Prof. Dr. Werner Haase

Review
       The last ten days of Adolf Hitler’s life has been brought to the screen twice before, once starring Alec Guinness and another time with Anthony Hopkins as the defeated dictator of the Third Reich. Although both actors gave stellar performances, their portrayals would depict Hitler as a crazed despot willing to sacrifice any future that Germany would have in a post-Nazi world. As a result, the films suffered and were regarded as caricatures of the personality of Adolf Hitler. In The Downfall, Bruno Ganz decided to take his performance in a different direction. He would depict Hitler as a tragic bi-polar human being who was now being swallowed up in the inferno that was of his own making. By taking this path, Ganz was able to show the audience how German citizens could have been easily swayed and attracted to this mesmerizing charlatan.

       At the beginning of the film we are introduced to Traudl Junge (Alexandra Maria Lara), the naïve and innocent woman who would become Hitler’s secretary and upon whose memoirs the film is based. When she first meets the dictator at an interview for the secretarial position, we witness a warm and compassionate Hitler who comes across as a benevolent father figure to the young woman. Later in the film, as the end nears, her devotion to this ‘father’ figure would lead her to make a pact with the other secretaries, to commit suicide along with the other Nazi disciples. After witnessing the forced ‘suicides’ of the Goebbels children, she realizes the waste of their young lives and does not fulfill her part of the suicide pact.

       Filmed in Germany with an all German cast and director, this film was primarily shunned at Oscar time. With over fifty years of documentaries and films which have depicted Hitler in the same way that the Guinness and Hopkins films had done, there was no way that a pre-dominantly Jewish Hollywood would accept the humanizing of Adolf Hitler. It’s understandable, but sad, because The Downfall was the best film of 2004, and Bruno Ganz’s portrayal was a performance for the ages. I think that film historians in the future will back me up on this assessment. This is a film that should not be missed.


Ratings Criterion
5 Stars - The pinnacle of film perfection and excellence.
4 ½ Stars - Not quite an immortal film, yet a masterpiece in its own right.
4 Stars - Historically important film, considered a classic.
3 ½ Stars - An entertaining film that’s fun or engaging to watch.
3 Stars – A good film that’s worth a Netflix venture.
2 ½ Stars - Borderline viewable.
2 Stars – A bad film that may have a moment of interest.
1 ½ Stars – Insipid, trite and sophomoric, and that's its good points.
1 Star – A film so vacuous, it will suck 2 hours from the remainder of your life.
½ Star - A gangrenous and festering pustule in the chronicles of celluloid.
« Last Edit: November 03, 2010, 11:46:48 PM by Antares »

richierich

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Re: Der Untergang (The Downfall) (2004)
« Reply #1 on: December 08, 2009, 10:47:53 PM »
Thanks for the review, just moved this to my 'must watch soon' pile  :thumbup:

Offline goodguy

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Re: Der Untergang (The Downfall) (2004)
« Reply #2 on: December 09, 2009, 02:24:57 AM »
Ah, Bernd Eichinger's Hitler trivialization. He is a bit like the German Steven Spielberg, although more writer/producer than director/producer. Still, the same urge to pepper up his late career resume with "historical important" movies. Baader Meinhof Komplex is another such mess.

BTW the best German movie of 2004 was Fatih Akin's Gegen die Wand (AKA Head-On). Just saying. ;)
Matthias

Offline Antares

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Re: Der Untergang (The Downfall) (2004)
« Reply #3 on: December 09, 2009, 02:41:07 AM »
Ah, Bernd Eichinger's Hitler trivialization. He is a bit like the German Steven Spielberg, although more writer/producer than director/producer. Still, the same urge to pepper up his late career resume with "historical important" movies. Baader Meinhof Komplex is another such mess.

BTW the best German movie of 2004 was Fatih Akin's Gegen die Wand (AKA Head-On). Just saying. ;)

Who am I to argue with someone who lives in that country. :-[

But with the portrayals I've seen coming from Hollywood over the years, which paint Hitler as a complete lunatic, it was refreshing to see a point of view that could explain his Svengali hold over his population.

Oh, and I'll be checking that other film out for sure.  :thumbup:

Offline Achim

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Re: Der Untergang (The Downfall) (2004)
« Reply #4 on: December 09, 2009, 03:36:28 PM »
Ah, Bernd Eichinger's Hitler trivialization. He is a bit like the German Steven Spielberg, although more writer/producer than director/producer. Still, the same urge to pepper up his late career resume with "historical important" movies.
He makes movies for the masses. Some good, some bad. I guess the Spielberg comparison holds up.

Quote
Baader Meinhof Komplex is another such mess.
Oops. Just bought that when I was recently in Germany. Moving it down in the unwatched pile now :laugh:


Quote
BTW the best German movie of 2004 was Fatih Akin's Gegen die Wand (AKA Head-On). Just saying. ;)
Is that the guy who made that film about a Turkish man whose father killed himself in prison and who is going to Turkey to bury him?

Offline goodguy

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Re: Der Untergang (The Downfall) (2004)
« Reply #5 on: December 09, 2009, 06:56:13 PM »
Quote
BTW the best German movie of 2004 was Fatih Akin's Gegen die Wand (AKA Head-On). Just saying. ;)
Is that the guy who made that film about a Turkish man whose father killed himself in prison and who is going to Turkey to bury him?

Not sure. If you refer to Auf der anderen Seite (AKA The Edge of Heaven), then yes, but I haven't seen that yet. I'm not a fan of Akin and I've seen only 3 of his movies. Kurz und schmerzlos is pretty okay, Im Juli rather forgettable. But Gegen die Wand truly is something else.
Matthias

Offline Achim

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Re: Der Untergang (The Downfall) (2004)
« Reply #6 on: December 10, 2009, 05:51:53 AM »
Not sure. If you refer to Auf der anderen Seite (AKA The Edge of Heaven), then yes, but I haven't seen that yet. I'm not a fan of Akin and I've seen only 3 of his movies. Kurz und schmerzlos is pretty okay, Im Juli rather forgettable. But Gegen die Wand truly is something else.
Yes, I think it's called Auf der anderen Seite. (I won the DVD but it wasn't convenient to look it up :bag:) It came recommended from a friend of mine and I thought it was quite good. But our tastes have differed before, so I am not going to plain-out recommend it here.

Offline goodguy

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Re: Der Untergang (The Downfall) (2004)
« Reply #7 on: December 10, 2009, 07:33:12 PM »
Yes, I think it's called Auf der anderen Seite. (I won the DVD but it wasn't convenient to look it up :bag:) It came recommended from a friend of mine and I thought it was quite good. But our tastes have differed before, so I am not going to plain-out recommend it here.

I did put it on my wishlist when it came out (more for Hanna Shygulla, though), but somehow wasn't really motivated to buy/watch it yet.
Matthias