Portrait of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, the German theologian who was imprisoned and killed by the Nazis for plotting to assassinate Hitler, conveys the essence of a man and his world. Bonhoeffer's life is lyrically presented, with his friends and family shedding light on his breakaway seminary, his travels to America and Harlem, his calls to change the world for better, and his noble attempts to respond to Nazi Germany as a Christian. Written by
Full Frame Documentary Film Festival
Lacks depth, perspective, and jumps around a lot. Interesting film historically and as a documentary into a seldom discussed part of Nazi Germany. Only worth watching if it shows up for free on TV.
Humor shows up unintended. The most interesting parts are when history reveals one thing and the religious people they interview have interpretations completely disconnected with that reality. You laugh at their either intended deception or utter naiveté. One might say the film makes a better study of cognitive dissonance.
In the end, it comes off like listening to priests excusing the activity of fellow priest sex offenders. Maybe a more accurate comparison would be the Bush administration excusing itself for lying about Iraq and the war by claiming it wasn't intentional and taking credit for the newspapers and organizations that disagreed with it from the beginning since they are American.
So, while the story of Bonhoeffer provides an interesting addition to history, it really isn't worthy of a theater. It's best viewed within the context of a course on World War 2 history, so that it can be fully understood that while Bonhoeffer was a part of a group in the Protestant church that fought against Nazi Germany, most of that same church, including its leaders, supported the Nazis, just as they now support Bush at the time this film was made.
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