Der Untergang [Downfall] (2004)

<strong class="MovieTitle">Der Untergang</strong> [<strong class="MovieTitle">Downfall</strong>] (2004)

(On DVD, July 2006) The last days of the Nazi regime are a natural dramatic point of interest. As the entire German infrastructure was being destroyed and the Russians were racing east, imagine the reactions of those left in Berlin. Based on several books and contemporary account, Downfall flits about Berlin as Hitler and his advisers retreat in an underground bunker. There is a lot of material to cover, perhaps more that can comfortably fit into a single motion picture: Downfall occasionally feels halfway between a miniseries and tighter film, with a result that feels long even though it should be interesting. Those hoping for a sweeping view of Berlin will be as disappointed as those who are hoping for a story exclusively centred on Hitler’s bunker. In any case, it’s hard to fault the actors as they attempt to recreate the slightly unhinged atmosphere of the time, or the claustrophobic cinematography as the walls come closer and closer to the characters. The script is graced with polish and a good amount of period details, down to capturing the essence of many historical characters. I suspect that WW2 buffs will be fascinated by the film, while others will want to snip entire segments of the film.

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