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10 out of 10 people found the following review useful:

The last days of Berlin, 1945

9/10
Author: Juergen N. (unicornis@web.de) from Germany
16 October 2005

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS (DEPENDING ON WHAT YOU CALL SPOILERS...) This Docutainmentfilm was aired on German TV in the wake of "Der Untergang (Downfall)", but it does not stand in the bigger production's shadow. Instead, it delivers a more, how can one put it, overall view of the last days of the battle for Berlin. The Führer is only shown once or twice, but that doesn't matter. "Die letzte Schlacht" is more about the fate of ordinary people anyway. You have acted scenes juxtaposed to interviews with the "real" people portrayed. We have Berlin women, telling of the arrival of the Russian troops, including some of the atrocities they committed as well as pointing at the decent Russians, who treated the defeated Germans well. We have one German Jew, who joined the Red Army and came back to Berlin as a Lieutenant, and another one, who luckily was released from the SS Prison shortly before the Battle ended. The film ends with some of the actors telling us about what became of the people they portrayed.

All in all, quite interesting, and an excellent counterpart to "Downfall".

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Some anecdotes, some contemporary witnesses, some reenactments

6/10
Author: Thomas (filmreviews@web.de) from Berlin, Germany
8 July 2017

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

"Die letzte Schlacht" or "The Last Battle" or "The Bunker" is a German movie from 2005, so this one is already over a decade old. It runs for basically 105 minutes and is among the most known works by writer and director Hans-Christoph Blumenberg, who had his 70th birthday not too long ago. He has had a prolific career without really any films that are extremely well-known here in Germany today. And it is also fitting that the defining figure for this mix of documentary and acted scenes here is probably not him, but Guido Knopp. And most German will know him from his uncountable series and episodes that focus on the days of World War II. And this one here is no exception. Major focus in here is on the Russian invasion in the 1940s and what exactly happened back then. There are many interviews with contemporary witnesses to see here and even if you may have doubts if it is all true, these parts were the most interesting component of the entire film and are probably also the main reason why I give it 3 and not just 2 out of 5 stars.

This is a bit surprising because the cast includes names of many pretty famous German actors, most of them with respectable bodies of work like Mühe, Redl, Schilling, Lukas or Fassbinder regular Hermann. There's also some weaker ones like Schenke or Wackernagel, but it's not too difficult to look beyond them and honestly the material is on a level where they cannot really go very wrong as the focus is on the documentary parts and the acted scenes are just there to emphasize them really. This, however, takes a bit away from the more gifted actors. So yeah, there is nothing in this documentary that will really make a huge difference or broaden your horizon (unless you really know nothing about the subject). The film is really made for the broad masses who probably watch it because of the names attached to it rather than the subject. That's fine though. If you don't have huge expectations beforehand, it is not to difficult to appreciate (maybe even enjoy) this one. I give it a thumbs-up and recommend checking it out.

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