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'Sophie Scholl - Die letzten Tage' is the true story about Sophie and
her brother, who ran the White Rose resistance group in Germany during
WW II. This one of those films that does everything right, where you'll
be unable to point at any weaknesses, or slip-ups.
Excellently told, excellently acted, excellently staged and lighted, it is a very horrible, very horrible film and yet, there is not a drop of blood, not a kick, no shots, no car chases, and just one scream!
Sophie and her friends are subjected to no violence, no tricks, while being interrogated by the Gestapo experts, and yet the girl, by just being truthful, implicates more and more of her friends. Had she shut up, her sentencing probably would have been milder, but she would not shut up, even when told so by the infamous judge Frisler, an ex-communist, who had written the verdict down, even before the trial!
This I see on the day when G. W. Bush signs the law that makes it OK for CIA to torture anyone they get hold of to get confessions.
I never thought I would write that Gestapo could teach CIA a lot, in a positive sense, but that is evidently so, as the film is based on the interrogation protocols and trial that followed.
For Hitler's Germany these young kids were much terrorists, even if they only wrote pamphlets against the regime!
Enough of that, just buy the DVD and enjoy a superb film!
Sophie Scholl is about a real college student that lived in Germany during world war two and took the initiative with some of her mates to speak out against Hitler. She and her mates were killed for their trouble, but went proudly to the guillotine. The military tribunal near the end of the film was interesting as the judge did all the prosecuting and the lawyers sat back and did nothing. Just like the Salem witch trials and the terrorist trials of today. Fascism is the same no matter what the age. A moving story where in hindsight you can say these students were correct. The master race or the righteous tend to ignore the facts that contradict their theories of life. It's depressing to think that any country can be duped into electing whack jobs like Hitler, but it is definitely worth the watch.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Set in Munich 1943, a group of students known as 'The White Rose' publish leaflets and daub graffiti on walls calling for an end to the war and the overthrow of Adolf Hitler. Their means are always meant to be peaceful, but this was Nazi Germany during World War II, so their action was high treason. This is the story of their last days on world. Without spoiling the movie, too much, the title of the film really does spoil the downer ending. After all, 'final days' doesn't sound like good news. While, the film is very predictable, I do have to say, the film directed by Marc Rothemund does somewhat manage to keep the suspense going, even if most of the events is known to end tragedy. Drawing on interviews with survivors & transcripts that had remained hidden in East Germany archives until 1990, the film still does an good job, sticking to what really happen to the most famous member of the White Rose, Sophie Scholl (Julia Jentsch). It's accurate for the most part, yet it does depart somewhat from recorded history in its depiction of the trials. In the movie, Sophie give proud speeches in support of her cause and are able to intimidate the judge with her courage. In reality, court transcripts give very little indication that any member were able to speak. If they did, the Nazis were not very interested in recording political opposition. The religious aspect of her speech was another gripe as Scholl wasn't that religionist. The film acts like all Nazis were atheists, and the White Rose were Christians fighting for their beliefs. In truth, both groups were made out of many religious sects. So, unlike this film, the real-trial was never about religion beliefs. Other mistakes, the film made during the trial, was making it seem like Munich was under attack by allied air raid. In reality, no bombs fell on Munich between this time-period. Despite Rothermunde's taking some liberties. I do like, how the story is told from Sophie Scholl (Julia Jentsch)'s perspective on that day, where she along with her brother, Hans (Fabian Hinrich) try to distribute the sixth leaflet of their anti-war pamphlet to their fellow students at the University of Munich and got caught. Nevertheless, since the film begins only a day or so before their arrest; it does not explain more of the context of what were, the White Rose really about. The film does not explain, what were written in the leaflets that much, nor who were the authors. Contrary to popular belief, Sophie Scholl was not one of the authors, nor did she help write them. Most of the pamphlets were written by Willi Graf (Maximilian Brückner), Christoph Probst (Florian Stetter), Alexander Schmorell (Johannes Suhm), and her brother, Hans. In truth, Sophie came in the group, somewhat late in 1942, after most of the leaflets were finish & after discovering that her brother was one of the authors; which the film doesn't stated. Regarding the sixth leaflet, it was not produce and distributed in the course of one night. The real time period was 2 weeks, and it was written after the German defeat at the Battle of Stalingrad by Professor Kurt Huber. Its Huber's involvement, is the true reason why she join. I guess, the movie omitted this fact, because it wanted to show Sophie as an intelligent leader and long-time member of the White Rose who can make her own decision. When in truth, Sophie was somewhat of a naive follower being influence by others like Huber and her brother to distribute the paper, outside of Munich, so the Gestapo could not trace the source. The reasons why, she was chosen for this role, was the fact that she was a woman, so her chances of being randomly stopped by the SS were much smaller so and the fact that she had so many connections, elsewhere. I'm think the reason why the director chose not to include this into the film, was because the dilemma when it comes to editing, multiply stories, within two different locations. Don't get me wrong, I like how the film focus on only on what happen in Munich, but it does omitted the wider scope of the nonviolent movement, making the group, seem smaller than they were. The film does omitted a lot of information and backstory about the nonviolent movement, like how the members, honestly met, and how they joined. Sadly, if one was studying more in depth of what the White Rose actually were, and how others were involved, they should seek other resources like 1982's 'The Last Five Days' or 'White Rose' also released in the same name for further information, because this film will not give you much. It only presented on what happen, to Scholl after her got caught. Despite that, the acting in this film was great. Julia Jentsch plays the title role in a strong performance and with a strong supporting cast, backing her up. I also like how the film is shot and edited. Hardly any slow moments, even the talking scenes were intense. Great pacing. It is further evidence of great, German film-making has gotten as of late. Overall: It's a very good film and critics agree, as it was nominated for 'Best Foreign Language Film' in 2005 at the Oscars. The purpose of the film is to recognize the efforts of the German resistance during World War II, and not all Germans were evil Nazis as assumed. In the end, its shows that. It's an important story for anybody interested in WWII History - one to set alongside with 2008's 'Valkyrie'. A must-watch.
This movie is excellently acted and directed. It is a true story which
focuses on a young German woman, Sophie Scholl. Secretly she, along
with others in the White Rose movement, distributes messages which are
subversive to Hitler.
It is a German language movie, and maybe half of it is a conversation between her and an interrogator who is trying to determine her innocence or guilt. Therefore, unless you are fluent in German, you must be in the mood to read a long conversation. Yet ultimately this becomes my favorite part of the movie.
After watching the movie, I recommend to do research on the subject. There was so much evil and cowardice at the time, yet this little group put out strongly worded papers about how Jews were being murdered and the complicity of the German people. 'You are guilty, guilty, guilty.' Also there is a lovely monument at the University.
The plot was incredibly historically accurate for a movie. In no
instance did the movie stray from the actual events, even slightly. All
of the times and dates were accurate, and the pacing of the movie was
authentic to how quickly things happened in real life.
The setting was very well done and stayed true to the facts. Their were three main locations, the school, the interrogation room, and the courtroom. The school scenes were filmed at the University of Berlin, where the actual events took place. The interrogation room looked accurate as well. The People's Court in Berlin looked like pictures that I found of the actual building.
Overall, the movie was very well done. All of the events are accurate. The actors do a very good job of making you feel like you are caught along in the story. The drama is very emotional, and there was not a minute in the movie where is was disinterested. My only complaint is that the movie tried to get very emotional, very early on, before giving you a connection with the characters. However, the rest of the movie did very well. 10/10 would watch again.
the atmosphere. and the story. the details. and the portrait of characters. and the realistic image of Sophie Scholl who becomes , in same measure, symbol of a generation and representative part of courage, idealism and faith in fundamental virtues of an age. but, more important, she remains herself, scene by scene. film of a historical figure more than drawing of anti-Nazi movement, it is useful trip in the heart of a time. the heroism of young Sophie is presented in its context. the trial is remarkable reconstitution of a juridical system. the entire fight for a noble cause becomes not only dramatic but touching for the high science to suggest the tension and its mad generosity. a film for reflect about few young men and a girl for who ideal is enough for legitimate the sacrifice.
Netflix finally sent a movie whose queue we'd been in for years (they must have only a single copy), and wouldn't you know, it arrived the same week we saw another based-on-a-true-story German-subtitled movie about World War II, Labyrinth of Lies. But you don't have to wait so long, the entire 2005 Scholl movie is available on YouTube. Sophie Scholl, age 21, her older brother Hans, and several of their friends were students in Munich during the war and participated in a non-violent resistance organization called The White Rose. It was 1943. Stalingrad had just been lost, the Eastern Front was a disaster, and most German military leaders saw inevitable looming defeat. It was in that atmosphere that Sophie and her brother are arrested for distributing anti-war fliers at the university, and the movie focuses on her interrogation by the Gestapo. It doesn't involve the thuggish violence one might expect; rather, it's a duel of wits between Sophie and her interrogator, Robert Mohr, as she refuses to name accomplices. Raised a Lutheran, Sophie's religious beliefs were the basis for her opposition to the Nazi regime. In addition, her boyfriend Fritz Hartnagel who served on the Eastern Front had written to her about the mass murders of Soviet soldiers and Jews that he had seen. Her final words illustrate the strength of her convictions: "How can we expect righteousness to prevail when there is hardly anyone willing to give himself up individually to a righteous cause? Such a fine, sunny day, and I have to go, but what does my death matter, if through us, thousands of people are awakened and stirred to action?" Although the law and the punishment are clear, what is also clear is that Mohr (played by Gerald Held) comes to respect Sophie's courage, as played so movingly by Julia Jentsch. You might be tempted to think that when the defendants appear in the People's Court for their show trial, the court's President is played too broadly, like a hysterical fanatic. Watch the "extras" that accompany the filmand you'll see some footage made at the trial. The actor playing the judge got it exactly right. As Roger Ebert said in his review: "Those who know their actions are wrong are often the loudest to defend them, especially when they fear a higher moral judgment may come down on them." The extras include a lengthy interview with Sophie and Hans's younger sister, Elisabeth, as well. This award-winning film, directed by Marc Rothemund, was an Academy Award nominee for Best Foreign Language Film in 2005.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
"Sophie Scholl - The Final Days" is a recollection of the last days in
the title character's life from when she makes the tragic decision to
spread pamphlets in her university till the moment she gets executed.
These 120 minutes really have everything a good film needs. Relevant
historical references, a high-quality script, talented actors, emotion
(goosebump alert!) and last but not least drama that will not leave you
uninvolved. Maybe one of the keys to this film's success that it is
actually very simple in many regards. There are not too many locations
in there: university, interrogation chamber, prison, courtroom are the
key locations of this movie and when it takes place at one, it stays
there for quite a while.
This was the big breakthrough film for Julia Jentsch and she won a German Film Award for her lead performance. However, I am tempted to say that Alexander Held was at least as good and it is really a failure that he did not get any awards recognition for this. He created such a multi-layered character here. Outstanding, really. Apart from these two, Fabian Hinrichs also appears in here. I am a great fan of him as an actor, especially in "Schwerkraft", but in "Sophie Scholl", he is not as great as Jentsch, admittedly also does not have her material or screen time. The movie itself won a popular vote at the German Film Awards and came in second for Film of the Year, just like "The Edukators", another film starring Jentsch. She had one hell of a year. "Sophie Scholl" managed an Academy Award nomination, but lost to the South African Entry. One of the main questions I kept asking myself was if Scholl's fellow inmate was maybe a Nazi informant in disguise, but I was wrong here. I mentioned the film's many excellent historic references earlier and one concrete example would be the mention of Elser another German resistance fighter who paid with his life. He got his own movie actually very recently (by the same writer as "Sophie Scholl"), so you may give this one a go as well. As will I certainly at some point.
The biggest strength about "Sophie Scholl - The Final Days" is the fact that it is all based on real people I am not only talking about Sophie here, I am also talking about her brother Hans, about Robert Mohr, about Judge Freisler and about the Scholl siblings' fellow resistance members. This is what makes this movie such a relevant and important watch. This is not just another German Nazi movie. This is a very personal tale of disaster, but equally a tale of destiny and doing the right thing. They said repeatedly that they would do exactly the same all over again and that says it all. And yet there are moments like Sophie's screaming before the execution, which adds a new layer of realism to it all. They are no stone-cold heroes. They are humans like all of us. It's also no case of wrong place, wrong time here. The action was right. The consequences were not. These consequences may have been avoidable for Scholl, but she refused to, because it would have been the wrong thing to do.
This is easily one of the best German films of all time. I still have to give the no°1 spot to "Das Leben der Anderen", but Marc Rothemund's effort here is a definite contender. It's actually sad to see some of the films he made in recent years who are so so far behind in terms of level compared to what he came up with 10 years ago. And it's equally sad to see Jentsch's career decline for quite a while now. Anyway, back to this one, I highly recommend watching "Sophie Scholl - The Final Days". It's an extraordinary effort and a must-see for everybody with an extended interest in 20th century history.
This film is about three Germans who were arrested by the Nazis during
WWII because they objected to the war and published pamphlets calling
for an end to the war. Their capture takes place very early in the
movie and the rest consists of them being cross-examined by the police,
being put through a ridiculous show trial and then executed. This is
certainly NOT fun stuff but is based on actual events and documentation
concerning Sophie and her co-defendants. However, I was pleasantly
surprised by the film. I completely expected to see them being tortured
horrifically--something I never want to watch. Fortunately, this
apparently did not occur--a rare case involving some restraint by the
Nazis. So, if you are worried that this will almost come off as a snuff
film, put your worries aside--it is watchable and the brutality is kept
to a minimum in the film.
Despite not being a violent film, it's probably not the sort of thing the average viewer would want to see. I certainly wouldn't want to show it to small children. But it is very well made and I appreciate all the attention to detail. Well worth seeing but also rather unpleasant-- as it should be.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
To me Sophie Scholl was a truly brave young woman whose execution via
one of the worst execution methods was an injustice, in a case where
strictly speaking she, her brother Hans and Christoph Probst shouldn't
have been convicted let alone executed. Considering that their supposed
crime was banality at its worst, that their trial was a complete sham
and that they were executed almost immediately with no appeals(sort of
implying that executing somebody distributing anti-Nazi leaflets takes
priority over executing a serial killer, and it's not rocket science
knowing which is the worst of the two), also if they were to be
executed I seriously don't think it should have been the guillotine.
Sophie Scholl: The Final Days tells the story of her last few days superbly. If there was any complaint to be had, it was that the music score did come across as a little heavy-handed at times, Sophie: The Final Days is very understated and intricate and when some of the more dramatic parts sounded over-scored it spoils that effect. Admittedly though, the music isn't all bad because there is some sympathetic piano scoring that suited the mood much better and was done better. Sophie Scholl: The Final Days is a beautifully made film, the way it was shot gave an intimacy in some scenes but there was also claustrophobia created in some of the interrogations that had a nerve-shredding effect. It's also accurate in period detail, so much so that it's almost like you are there witnessing as a omnipresent but unseen observer, and while the colours are muted this proved to be a good choice, any other way most likely wouldn't have worked anywhere near as well.
Marc Rothemund's direction is always in control of the story and allows any tension or emotion to come through strongly. It goes along at a good pace too, it's never rushed and while the pace and direction are deliberate they never become ponderous. This is especially true in the interrogations, which are the driving force of the storytelling, some of Sophie's answers are defiant and stoic but the interplay between Julia Jentsch and Gerald Alexander Held is incredibly intense. With the script, there is a lot of talk and has a documentary-feel at times but this is a case of that working at an advantage. It all depends on the quality of the writing, and Sophie Scholl: The Final Days is one intelligently written film, the interrogations, which are filled with nail-biting intensity and numerous shades of humanity, having the sense of being lifted directly out of the Gestapo records.
As for the story, the story-telling is thoroughly engrossing throughout. Sophie may come across sometimes as detached when interrogated but the atmosphere in the entire film is anything but, this is a story that truly hits you hard, provides plenty of thought afterwards and has a fair share of emotional scenes, two primary examples being when Sophie is told she's going to die and in particular when she's saying goodbye to her parents, which is one of the most heart-wrenching scenes from any film to me. Because of such a short time frame, Sophie Scholl: The Final Days was dealing with a potentially narrow and less well-known subject but explores it remarkably accurately and thoroughly. The execution at the end is almost surreal and artful but it was also movingly done and although you already know how it would end harrowing as well. Even the courtroom scene, which is one of the worst cases of "kangaroo courting"(then again you can say that for any court case with Roland Freisler as judge) grabs the attention.
The characters are not fully developed as such but they are still interesting, Sophie is someone you quickly and immediately root for, admiring her bravery right from her arrest to her death and her refusal to implicate her brother and friends despite being offered to. But the most interesting character was Mohr, he is much more than a stereotypical Gestapo "villain", remarkable considering that the Gestapo never have been known in a positive light. Like when he offers Sophie a way out, telling her about his son fighting in the war, there is a degree of care towards Sophie and especially his reaction to what Sophie says to him in the hallway after saying goodbye to her parents, which I interpreted as him having sympathy and admiration for her but not being sympathetic to her actions, as with his job despite the case seeming personal to him he saw her still as an enemy of the state.
Regarding the acting, Sophie and Mohr drive the story and are the most dominant characters. And it is also Julia Jentsch and Gerald Alexander Held who give the best performances. Especially Jentsch who is just outstanding as Sophie, a really moving and sympathetically stoic performance, Sophie's courage and loyalty shining through right to the end. Held commands the screen with chilling authority and nuance, he is a Gestapo Inspector and you do feel intimidated by him but there are times where you do like him a little. Fabian Hinrichs and Johanna Gastdorf are impressive too and Florian Stetter comes across as genuine in Christoph's anguish at being implicated and condemned to death(considering he had three children and a sickly wife). Andre Rennicke is very over-the-top as Roland Freisler, but considering the odiousness of Freisler in real life- he actually did shout and scream at his defendants and it was actually even worse in real life than depicted here- and how much of a sham the trial was the over-the-top-ness was appropriate. And he was quite terrifying as well, how Sophie, Hans and Christoph didn't crack when being yelled at in this way is another one of the admirable things about them.
In conclusion, an emotionally powerful and hard-hitting film, few other films seen recently have affected me as much. A high 9/10. Bethany Cox
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