The Nuremberg trials, 1946 Goering and the Nazi high command stand trial. Within the prison a dangerous mind game is being conducted by Goering and the prison guards who stand watch over the perpetrators of the Holocaust.
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Friedrich G. Beckhaus
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Following the defeat of Germany in WWII, the Allies determine that there must be an accounting of German war crimes. Twenty-four Nazis, representative of all sections of military and civilian life are chosen to stand trial for the crimes of conspiracy to commit aggression, commission of aggression, crimes during war and crimes against humanity. The preparations for the trial, the trial itself and its aftermath are shown through the eyes of Chief Prosecutor Robert Jackson and through the eyes of Reichsmarshal Hermann Goering, the ranking Nazi defendant. Written by
Jason A. Cormier
My first impression of this film was that it was excellently done. It provoked my curiosity and I am glad to say the film held up under my further investigation of the trials.
The accurate representation of the grayness of a subject most would consider black and white was particularly courageous. It would be easy to paint the Nazis as monsters without souls, but so often terrible things are done by perfectly ordinary people. In fact that is what is so terrible about people's actions in WWII. Malevolence would certainly be easier to accept than what this film shows was at the source of the Nazi behavior -- indifference and lack of empathy. Who hasn't felt indifference toward someone they met in everyday life, the cashier who was too slow, the person in the car ahead, the telemarketer?
The acting was excellent, particularly Brian Cox, who showed us how well charm can mask evil. I did not think Goering was white-washed. This was shown most clearly in his pathetic attempt to shrug off the concentration camp film. Even his manipulative skill couldn't ease that shock, and his American friend was silent. If Alex Baldwin pumped up his drama a little, well, take a look at transcripts of the trial, which are drier than the Sahara. The use of documents was extensive during the trial and how often does the layperson want to hear that? The use of the concentration camp film was a cold dash of water in the face of such dryness. Some other comments question the inclusion of the relationship between Jackson and his secretary. I didn't see it as a "love story", but more as an "adultery story" used to show on a more personal level that despite his side's claim to superior "morals" Jackson was also weak. I think the Soviet involvement and the Polish massacre was left out because it would have been too long to include in all its convolutions. It is an interesting part of the story, however, so I recommend researching it.
I was glad to see on the comments that those who know more than I pointed out its accuracy. Too rarely does Hollywood actually attempt that.
11 of 13 people found this review helpful.
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