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*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This film definitely is a must-see because of the incomparable degree
of realism displayed in it. Direction, camera and acting are of an
unparalleled level and make you, as the viewer, feel as if you are
actually in Berlin, 1945, and in the FÃ¼hrer's bunker. The film does
not provide any commentary or judgment, it just shows facts.
The film is criticized because it gives the Nazi's a human face, but this is exactly it's strongest point: the Nazi's were not extraterrestrial monsters, they were as human as you and I. The image of Hitler crying of sorrow because all is lost, is still burned on my retina.
In my opinion, this is a film that should be shown in schools to illustrate the Second World War with. It is probably impossible to provide a more realistic account, without *any* form of judgment.
A major achievement, even for Germany as a whole. It is very brave to create such a realistic film about one's own past.
Der Untergang makes you live the horrors and craziness of war. Bruno Ganz's interpretation of Adolf Hitler is worthy of an Oscar. He is completely believable. Also the rest of the cast performs admirably. You feel transported to Berlin as it was bombarded by the Russians. You get a very clear insight (or an impression?) in how the military decisions were taken during those final days of the war. The movie balances well between large-scale effects of bombs exploding in ruined streets and depictions of different persons going though the experience from Hitler and his staff in the well-protected bunkers to the principal military commanders torn between reason and loyalty and German civilians trapped in an inferno. The movie is neither pro-Nazi nor does it depict all Nazis as mindless monsters. It gives an impression of utter realism. Go see it in a good cinema your seat will tremble as the bombs explode. A nine out of ten.
'Der Untergang' is probably the only WW2 movie I've ever seen, which
only deals with facts and is utterly deprived of any form of
commercialism whatsoever. Bruno Ganz is truly excellent in his role as
Adolf Hitler, a tired man who sees his "Reich" fall, but cannot accept
it. Overall (type)casting is very good; all the actors chosen to
portray a famous/notorious character look a lot like the real deal,
especially Goebbels. Although I'm not a fan of long war movies, these
2,5 hours passed very quickly due to excellent acting, great sets, FX
and storyline. Somehow, every scene is dripping with underlying tension
that never really explodes; a kind of unsettling unbelieved grips you
when you see seemingly ordinary people commit astonishing atrocities
and sins towards mankind, just for their faith and loyalty to one man,
Hitler, who himself walks the edge of reason.
Great movie : 10/10 without a doubt.
The first 15 minutes made me doubt the qualities of this movie. The
situations were a bit forced and the cuts were strange. But after the
uncomfortable beginning the movie took momentum and kept it until the
I think the choice of depicting Hitler as a human being with a dispassionate and modest direction was excellent. The film never tries to force viewers into an opinion. Everybody can form his own opinion. Too often the horrors of WWII led writers and directors to depict Nazis as monsters. Perfectly normal human beings can be cruel and merciless if they are blinded (by hate for example), which should never be forgotten.
In a way, a human Hitler to me is more guilty than a raving monster. He had the choice and he chose to do wrong. He could choose life and he chose murder and destruction. A human being lost respect for the life of other human beings and led a country into genocide. Ultimately he loses respect for all life and starts sacrificing his own soldiers at random. This is what I value this film for, making the idea of a human Hitler tangible.
It was very brave to make this film, given that controversy was almost certain to arise. One of the highlights of this year, to be sure.
I don't know what to say about this film. I am almost speechless.
First of all, this is almost PERFECT cinema, beautifully shot, acted, lit, staged and on and on. BUt it is also the only film in recent memory that had an almost physical impact on me. I left feeling disoriented and very disquieted, a feeling that lasted for several hours.
What we have here is an exercise in patience. A film that allows us to watch the disintegration of the largest empire in modern history, from the inside out. Beginning after the start of the siege of Berlin, the bulk of the film takes place in the cramped bunkers below the city, where Hitler and his officers are trapped like rats on a sinking ship, aware of their fate, but not smart enough, not willing enough, or maybe incapable of escaping the fates they created for themselves.
This is a daring, brilliant film with a virtuoso performance by Bruno Ganz as Hitler. He shows us that beneath the genocidal, world changing shell of hatred that the globe knew, Hitler was still that petty, hatefilled, failed art-student that he was before becoming the greatest villain in history.
awesome, awesome, awesome movie.
Not since perhaps Rod Steiger's portrayal of Benito Mussolini in
Moustapha Akkad's LION OF THE DESERT (1980) have I seen a notorious
dictator more realistically acted than Bruno Ganz's stunning display as
"Der Fuerer" in The Downfall (2004).
Sitting amongst a full-house of patrons here at the Toronto Int'l Film Festival's 2004 edition, Ganz captivated the local audience with the scariest Hitler I've ever seen up on the silver screen -- better than Noah Taylor's English Hitler in MAX just a couple of years back.
Audience members get a glimpse into the final days of Hitler's rule from the bunker deep beneath the Reich Chancellery in Nazi Berlin's dying days. The defeated spirit of the Nazis -- covered extensively in the history books -- has seldomly been more penetratingly shown on the Big Screen. Bravo to director Oliver Hirschbiegel for doing this the right (German) way -- for intrepidly tackling a period piece few German producers might.
I'd had a chance to chat with the actors post-screening, with lead actress Alexandra Maria Lara (playing Traudl Junge) candidly admitting the sheer amount of work she'd diligently invested in bringing her character to life -- doubtless complicated by the death of Frau Junge in 2002. Her research, however, was clearly impeccable and left no stone unturned. Corinna Harfouch wasn't on hand -- as Magda Goebbels. Pity because in many respects, she convincingly stole the show.
So rarely do we see Hitler on screen in modern days to allow us a glimpse into the horrifying nature of a madman bent on global domination. We all know the end of this story, but seldom does a film so masterfully suspend your disbelief than does The Downfall in making you wonder just how the Third Reich might end. Historical fiction might never be the same.
Considering the fact how hard it is to make an adequate movie about the Third Rich and especially Hitler himself, "Der Untergang" is a superb portrayal of the last days of Hitler, his minions and the Third Rich. First of all, Bruno Ganz' performance is magnificent, brilliant, perfect. You're beginning to think he IS the Fuehrer, his look, his mannerism, his sick philosophy of life and his downfall are absolutely convincing. After seeing him you can finally understand why so many people back then were attracted by his charisma, but thanks to Ganz' performance you do not forget about the terrible crimes he committed by his followers and about the evil inside the sick soul of this man. His minions weren't that important in this movie, except for Joseph Goebbels and his family. Heinrich Himmler, the ReichsfuehrerSS, was portrayed as the man he was: an idiotic coward, who was in great part responsible for the Holocaust and still believed in a peace agreement with the allied forces, although this idea was completely out of place. Albert Speer as one of the less criminal national socialists was also quite good interpreted. Martin Bormann, Alfred Jodl and Wilhelm Keitel, 3 other important Nazis, got too few screen time, and Hermann Goering didn't even show up, he was just mentioned. I think Goebbels wasn't portrayed that authentic as he could have, due to the fact he was the most intelligent of Hitler's inner circle, but in some scenes he seemed like someone who could just repeat his own slogans. The part about Traudl Junge and the boy from the Volkssturm, Peter, was also quite good, but it was clearly overshadowed by the Hitler/ minion part. There are also some surprisingly well done battle- sequences taking place in Berlin, in which you can also see a part of the pretty high amount of blood and violence, for example when a soldier gets shot through his head, some officers are committing suicide or the killing of the Goebbels children, a scene which gave me the chills. Due to it's high authenticity, great actors and an important message, this movie could become as important as Schindler's List already is, in order to show today's youth the insanity of Hitler and the whole Third Rich and to make them avoid racist and extreme right wing organisations. All in all, this is one of the best German flicks I've ever seen - although there isn't such a huge number of good German movies. 10/10
"Der Untergang" is certainly the most impressive, depressive and
realistic dramatic movie about the World War II ever made. I have never
seen a film picturing the insanity of Hitler in his very last days in a
bunker in Berlin with his high command, and how the German people were
hypnotized by him like in this film. Last year, I saw the deceptive,
boring, pretentious and overrated "Molokh", showing a caricature of
Hitler and Eva Braun in Bavaria. But "Der Untergang" is awesome and
comparable to "Apocalypse Now!", my favorite movie of war.
Two years ago, I saw the powerful "Das Experiment" and I was impressed with the work of Oliver Hirschbiegel. With "Der Untergang", this director is certainly included in my list of favorite directors. It is difficult to highlight one actor or actress in this constellation of stars, but I was impressed with the performance of Bruno Ganz and his "human" Hitler, totally different from the stereotypes usual in other movies. The cinematography and the battles are stunning, and the scenario of Berlin completely destroyed recalled the neo-realistic movie of Roberto Rossellini "Germania Anno Zero".
For those who know Germany and German people, it is amazing to see how this wonderful country survived to the chaos, destruction and lack of command, arrived from the ashes like Phoenix and sixty years later is again one of the greatest nations. For those who might have believed in Hitler and his Nazi Party, it is impressive to see how people is forgotten and treated without compassion by their leader in his last hours. And for those who love war, I really recommend to watch this magnificent anti-war movie, and see the behavior of the leaders and population when a war is lost. My vote is ten.
Title (Brazil): "A Queda! As Últimas Horas de Hitler" ("The Fall! The Last Hours of Hitler")
This magnificent film goes where no one else dared to go to show us the
last days of Adolf Hitler. The director, Oliver Hirshbiegel, working
with a big cast, brings to life the madness of the last days of the
monster, as observed by a young and impressionable secretary who
witnessed most of the crisis.
At the beginning of the film we watch as five young women are brought to be interviewed by Hitler for a job as his personal secretary. Young Traudl Junge is selected. She is a pretty woman who is naive in many ways and probably had no inkling about the trip she was going to embark.
The film captures the tragic figure of Hitler as everything is caving in on him and his grand plans for victory. We watch a man at the beginning of the film that is still thinking he is in command of the German forces, but his authority has eroded, as it becomes clear to the people under him the war is lost and it will be a matter of time before they are defeated.
We watch the life of privilege the higher ups led inside the bunker. It was a fortification in which all comforts the regular Germans could not imagine existed. We get to know the people in Hitler's inner circle. The Goebbels, both Joseph and Magda, supporters of the regime, maintain the loyalty to the Fuhrer until the end. The scene where Magda Goebbels murders her children is hard to take and we keep sinking in our seats, as we can't believe such cruelty existed. In her narrow view of things, Magda must take her family with her to a death these children didn't deserve.
The film is totally dominated by Bruno Ganz. As Hitler, he makes us see this man as he probably was in real life. Mr. Ganz's uncanny resemblance with Hitler is what makes the film works the way it does. At times, Mr. Ganz is totally irrational, and at times, he is presented as a lost man who can't see what he has done to Germany and to Europe and the world.
As Traudl Junge, the young secretary, Alexandra Maria Lara gives a subtle performance. She saw plenty inside the bunker and lived to tell it to the world. The other excellent performance is given by Corinna Harfouch, who as Mrs. Goebbels makes us cringe in horror because of what she is capable of doing. Juliane Kohler, as Eva Braun, is an enigma. At times, she is presented as a carefree young woman who might have loved Hitler. Yet, we don't ever know what made this Eva Braun tick. Ulrich Matthes as Joseph Goebbels and Heino Ferch as Albert Speer are equally effective playing these two men.
The director and his team have to be congratulated for taking us on a voyage to see the last moments of the Third Reich.
Who better to make a WWII film than the Germans themselves? This is
possibly the best WWII film I have seen yet. It is a very intense movie
about the final days of Adolf Hitler (a SUPERB roll played by Bruno
Ganz, he should get at least one Oscar for this...) which had me coming
back to see the movie a second and even a third time (I saw T3 only
twice, he he). And not only Bruno Ganz has done a great performance,
the entire cast gives it all their best. Very good film indeed.
As I said, it's a film about Adolf Hitlers final days, trapped in a bunker in Berlin, while the Russians are slowly moving closer. Hitler losing his faith in a 'good' outcome, the final bullet, everything is has happened for real. But when I left the cinema I had the idea I had just been watching a fictional story. A perfect script, made in real life 59 years ago. Not much to say about anything else. If you are interested in WWII stuff, go see it in the cinema, it's worth every penny.
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