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|Index||67 reviews in total|
I did not expect this to be as good as it was. When I first heard about
Alec Baldwin's plans to make this, my worst fears were that it would be
trite and overdone--a miniseries on TNT, about a subject that's been done to
death. The temptation to "TV-ize" the trials at Nuremberg must have been
huge. After all, there was a very successful movie done on this in the
1960s, there have been a ton of books written, and the Nazis are everybody's
But this miniseries has rich depth and vivid texture that will astonish you. And the performances will take your breath away.
First off, Baldwin is nearly perfect as Justice Robert Jackson, the esteemed Supreme Court judge handpicked by President Truman to lead the entire War Crimes trial process. Fiery when he needs to be, controlled when he has to be, Baldwin sets the tone for every performance in this film, and even has Jackson's look and mannerisms down pat. Baldwin wanted to be a lawyer when he was younger, and his passion for politics and the law shine through his eyes and drive his characterization. It's easily the best work Baldwin has done in years, and should net him an Emmy nomination this time next year.
Second, Brian Cox as Hermann Goering is nothing less than brilliant. Cox draws you in to Goering's deluded world, and he will have you staring in rapt fascination as he demonstrates the true depths of evil--"the absence of empathy," as the Army psychiatrist observes. Cox also apparently spent a great deal of time studying Goering's mannerisms and voice inflections, because there are times you will swear you are watching colorized footage of the original trial. He is just outstanding.
The rest of the cast is solid--Matt Craven as Captain Gilbert, the Army psychologist assigned to watch the prisoners and give them an outlet so that they don't commit suicide before the trial is over; Herbert Knaup as Albert Speer, the Nazi architect horrified by what his country has done and eager to convince his colleagues to admit the truth to save Germany from utter ruin; Jill Hennessey as Elsie Douglas, Jackson's devoted personal assistant; Christopher Plummer as David Maxwell-Fyfe, lead British prosecutor. There's been a lot of criticism for including the story of Jackson and Douglas' love affair, which really did happen, but its inclusion helps keep this film from becoming just another rehash of the Nuremberg trials.
There is one moment in the miniseries worth a specific mention: The playing of the concentration camp film footage in the courtroom for all to see. Over the years, we've all seen these films so many times that it's easy to become desensitized to them. But in 1945, NO ONE had seen this footage before, and every participant manages to convey the shock of these incredibly graphic films convincingly. The dialogueless scene is as chilling as the gruesome images contained therein.
I hope this merits a video release, as it's one I want to own for future viewings. And Alec Baldwin definitely has a future as a producer should he ever decide to retire from life in front of the camera.
TNT is to be applauded for tackling this difficult subject.
I appreciate the attempt to depict the trial as historically accurate. The result is a flawed, yet better-than-average mini-series. Brian Cox gave a memorable, nuanced performance, and Christopher Plumber was charming as always (although I doubt they had tanning beds in the post-WWII era). I would have preferred a different actor in the role of Robert Jackson, one older with a more expressive acting style, and I felt that the weight given to the adulterous relationship was excessive. But it held my attention and had some very compelling moments.
Yes, the story of the Nuremberg War Crimes Tribunal needs to be told so that
it's never forgotten. Yes, this miniseries provides a dignified and
multifaceted retelling. But it isn't quite the masterpiece it should have
been. Alec Baldwin is adequate as white knight Bob Jackson, Brian Cox is
impressive as king-in-exile Hermann Goering, but neither are particularly
compelling. What could have been a powerful character study and an
exploration of the nature of evil ends up becoming a rote-by-rote
reenactment of the events.
The story itself is powerful enough, but the screenplay doesn't try to take it in any new directions. It too-quickly dismisses Nazism as mere lies and propaganda, only hinting at the darker implication that it might have been the horrific yet inevitable end-product of a century of Eurocentrism, of which all Western nations were guilty to some degree. Only half-heartedly in the last quarter or so does it question whether the Allies pushed for the trials to assuage their own guilt. The still-lingering question about the motivations for the trials in the first place - to establish justice for the world at large or to mask the hypocrisy of the victors? - is barely explored. The film is content to draw the lines of good and bad with bold strokes.
The biggest impacts are made by two supporting characters. The first is the Jewish army psychologist, who struggles with rage at what the Nazis did to his people and the clinical desire to understand them. His analysis of their motivations provides no easy answers (were there any?). The other is the young American soldier who befriends Goering. Drawn to his magnetic personality, he listens to his words and begins to believe them, providing a chilling lesson that evil doesn't die with the man who preaches it.
The film also makes pivotal use of actual concentration camp footage. After fifty years those grainy haunting images are still just as horrifying. They serve as reminders of what happened there and what the Nuremberg trials attempted to ensure would never happen again. It's a lesson that's too-often overlooked. * - 3.5 of 5
There's a lot of positive things to say about NUREMBERG (see the section for teachers in its official web site. It is all true, as a history lesson, from the North American and perhaps British viewpoint.) However, presenting the material as a virtual North American experience, for ease of comprehension is risky, and ultimately palatable only to the most die-hard history fans, and young students. While it is imperative to teach the new generations about these atrocities, whether it is worth doing so at the expense of realism is questionable. The audience should not remember these Nazis as eloquent, smooth-talking American English speakers in lederhosen and impeccable, pressed elegant uniforms, acting just as the gurus of young American soldiers should. Also, being tried in what is obviously Quebec, with no credible non-North American character (other than the Albert Speer character, played by the sole German actor)is a stretch. The French and Russian judges are pretty much dismissed from the plot (mercifully so as they are as completely miscast)The Russian Judge/General also speaks fluent American English. The director could have at least dubbed the Not Guilty (Nicht Schuldig) pleas of the Nazi defendants, all but two delivered in laughably bad German accents. Yes for the desired impact on the masses who watch TNT, these 'revisions' may be necessary. However, in so doing, the veracity and authenticity of the whole matter are ultimately sacrificed. For anyone who speaks German, or has been to Quebec, these adjustments all but destroy the good points brought up in Nuremberg. The series serves its purpose for elementary, maybe junior high students from rural areas or the provinces, or as belated adult education class for someone in limbo the last few decades. And then, only for those who speak English. As the (very un-Russian looking and speaking) Soviet Judge keeps repeating: 20 million of my people were killed. Indeed, the vast majority of the descendants of the victims of the atrocities depicted in NUREMBERG will in no way benefit from this Anglophone, actually North American-skewed view of events.
One of the better made-for-TV movies ever made. It gives a very good story with great character stories as well. In some places it makes you feel sorry for the Nazis and see a good side in Hitler and at the same time it shows the terrible horror done at Nazi concentration camps with actual historical footage. This is a good movie and I recommend you watch it.
We can never forget the horrors of the Holocaust which were committed by the Nazis during World War II. It is this theme that future generations of film viewers will see overwhelmingly portrayed mostly as the "embodiment of evil". This story is so critical in our understanding of how individuals who for duty to their country somehow perverted their political and military policies for mass murder to such an extent unlike the world has never seen. This miniseries does an excellent job in capturing the thought processes of the defendants (dramatically) and how the prosecution went about in convicting them. Notably, Brian Cox as Hermann Goering gives a compelling performance showing the former Reichmarshall's final days as prisoner believing his own propaganda. One Interesting thing, Goering admits that the mass murders were senseless. This is good drama but we don't know if this something he actually felt or said. Bottom line is that all of the defendants were equally guilty in the voluntary complicity in the formation of Nazi Germany and its responsiblities of its actions. This miniseries factually portrays the speeches of the prosecution and the politics of the Allies during these times. More or less, convictions were pre-determined. Finally, TNT should be applauded for producing a difficult subject that touches all of us and is so vastly reprehensible that it will never be forgotten and never allowed to occur again.
This gripping mini-series provides perhaps the best portrayal of the Nuremberg trials to date. Brian Cox playing the role of Hitler's second in command, Hermann Goring, gives an award winning performance. Actual footage of the horrific scenes found at the liberations of the concentration camps, serve to add the human touch that is all so chilling and moving.
Absolute power does corrupt, but who would justify this? How can 20 men continue to support, defend, and be proud of their actions that brought death to millions of Jews? What took us so long to bring them to justice, regardless of the fact, the justification is war? And how in heaven's name do we recompense for the deeds already done? A power story that examines our psyche, our emotions, and our passions about human rights. A striking message of how power that is not balanced, develops strange evils. And it's our duty to fight for a republic that will not tolerate such hypocrisy.
There can be no doubt that subjects such as the Nuremberg trial or the
enormity of Nazi war crimes are of tremendous gravity. But, it does not
follow that depictions of, and productions about, those subjects
automatically make the production itself excellent. Indeed, and as
"Nuremberg" demonstrates, historical import is no guarantee of a film's
quality. Among other things, there still must be a logical plot, a
compelling screenplay, intelligent dialogue, fine acting, and
appropriate casting. Nuremberg fails to deliver on most of these.
What could the screenwriters have been thinking when they gave the (rather vapid) affair between Justice Jackson and his secretary so much screen time? That contemporary audiences still require a subplot revolving around sex to keep their interest? Yet, that story line is included. And emphasized. Repeatedly.
And was the director not aware that Christopher Plummer's character's deep tan would appear ludicrously incongruous in a movie set in post war Germany? Along the same lines, did the director feel that audiences would relate better to a female protagonist of the 1940's whose mannerisms and demeanour are more typical of a "modern" woman of 2000?
Any film about the Nuremberg trial automatically starts off with credibility. The subject matter guarantees it. And any film about Nuremberg automatically contains the crucial elements required to move audiences, to stir their emotions. It is not just ironic, but sad, then, that Nuremberg squanders those inherent pluses; that it fails to deliver and that, ultimately it fails to move us. And that is tragic for many many reasons.
The topic was targeted quite well. This movie has very good aspects in
it. For example the acting of the accused Germans (like Göring). It is
historically accurate and shows everything there is to show about this
very delicate topic. Sadly there is shown too much. That love story
between Justice Jackson (Alec Baldwin) and Elsie Douglas (Jill
Hennessy). In my opinion this is not the movie to be equipped with such
a (not even well done) love story. I suppose some moviegoers want to
see love in every movie. But for me this ruined it. Furthermore Alec
Baldwins acting was not adequate. He showed emotions, where there are
no emotions to be shown and it looked like he wanted to show off his
'talent' in this movie at every occasion possible. Which again was a
My rating for this movie would have been 9/10 if those two things would have been regarded but with the above complaints, it will only receive a rating suitable for below-average movies.
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