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The movie deals with the championship-winning German soccer team of 1954. Its story is linked with two others: The family of a young boy is split due to the events in World War II, and the father returns from Russia after eleven years. His problems in getting back to normal life are shown, with references to his children and wife. The second story is about a reporter and his wife reporting from the tournament. Written by
One of the first scenes shows the team of Rahn on a small football ground. In the background you see two cooling towers, a big funnel with the word "SHELL" in white letters and a huge white-painted crude oil tank. Apparently, the film set was in Köln-Godorf with the refinery of "Shell Deutschland GmbH" in the background. Shell Refinery was put on stream in 1960 with one cooling tower (the second was build some years later). Tank No. 7 was build in 1965. In the early-50s, crude oil tanks with more than 100,000 m3 capacity and a diameter of nearly 100m were not technical standard in Germany. See more »
At the very end of the closing credits one can hear the original radio reporter signing off from the stadium in Bern. See more »
German director Sönke Wortmann manages to recreate an atmosphere that kept the young German nation after WW2: Depression, fear, no perspectives for many people that are still suffering from the mayhem of the war. But he also shows that society is developing under the influence of the allied forces. It is perfectly chosen to follow the main plot on the side of young Matthias Lubanski (Louis Klamroth delivers an overwhelming performance! As the rest of the cast as well!). He only knows about the aftermath of the war, not all the evil that it brought before, and he has to deal with all what is surrounding him. He needs to have something to believe in, and when his father returns after 12 years of russian captivity his world turns upside down, but not for the better. During the movie both, he and his father, have to learn hard lessons of life, but for each its a necessary development to find its place in life. So when father and son travel to Switzerland, the colours of the movie change from the dark and grey Ruhrpott to the green and blue of the Alps. The second plot is woven into this one: The progress of the German National-Soccer-Team at the World Cup in Switzerland. Different players from different teams have to become one team, each fighting for each other. One for all and all for one. This is transferable to the German nation itself, on the verge to a new democratic future where at the beginning everything is linked to each other.
The movie is heart-warming and shows, by the way, how fantastic soccer (or any other team-sport) can be. How it can carry away the audience.
When the German team beat the former unbeatable (for almost 4 years!) Hungarian team 3-2 - something nobody every dared dreaming of - the whole German nation felt as one and knew that there is a new future!
Just one thing that felt rather negatively. Why was it not possible to create a more exciting and realistic atmoshpere in the stadium of Bern? The spectators, all too apparently created via blue-screen, looked too artificial. There was no depth. You never felt really appealed by that audience, because it looked not real. I think Wortmann should have been more perfect with that. Regarding the fact that so many special effects professionals from Germany work in Hollywood (e.g. for Roland Emmerich) the result could have been much, much better!
But nevertheless, this is one of the best German movies in a decade!
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