Danzig in the 1920s/1930s. Oskar Matzerath, son of a local dealer, is a most unusual boy. Equipped with full intellect right from his birth he decides at his third birthday not to grow up as he sees the crazy world around him at the eve of World War II. So he refuses the society and his tin drum symbolizes his protest against the middle-class mentality of his family and neighborhood, which stand for all passive people in Nazi Germany at that time. However, (almost) nobody listens to him, so the catastrophe goes on... Written by
It's been a while since I've seen this German film but I am still struck by key images in the film and the overall tone set forth casually against a backdrop of the chaos of Nazi Germany's rise and fall.
I do wonder how much of my love for this film is owed to the Gunter Grass novel on which it's based It's a quirky slab of magic realism to be sure, like the film, but I have no idea how closely it hews to the original.
The performances are nuanced and striking in places. The cinematography is appropriately dreary and the editing crisp and unadorned. The centerpiece though, is the performance by the child actor at the core of the film. How much is owed to his voice-over narrative, I don't know, but the man growing inside of the still-grown little boy was handled just beautifully.
It's a disturbing and strangely uplifting movie at once. I recommend it -- especially for those who have seen only black and white view of World War II and the typically American view of our adversaries in German.
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