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36 out of 39 people found the following review useful:

Working class hero

8/10
Author: Karl Self from Yurp
1 March 2015

Unlike so many subsidised movies about the Nazi era, this one isn't superficial and moralistic. Instead it tries to, and succeeds in, painting an authentic portrait of the prewar Nazi era in a village in rural Germany. Most of all, the movie is captivating. We get under the skin of this idiosyncratic carpenter who missed changing world history, and possibly saving tens of millions of lives, by a margin of just 13 minutes.

The movie stands of as one of the few who manage to depict what it could have been like to live under the Nazi dictatorship. What would you do if one of your friends was sent off to do forced labour, or another one was pilloried for her supposedly immoral behaviour. As the benefactors of a free society, we would like to think that we would stand up against such injustice. This movie conveys how difficult, how impossible it was to be decent under the Nazi yoke. It goes much to Georg Elser's credit that he tried to do the impossible nevertheless.

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21 out of 25 people found the following review useful:

Intense war drama about a man whose story has been little-told

9/10
Author: Red-Barracuda from Edinburgh, Scotland, UK
19 June 2015

Oliver Hirschbiegel directed the celebrated war drama Downfall (2004) about the last week in the life of Adolf Hitler. With his new movie 13 Minutes, he returns to the subject of life in Nazi Germany but this time events are set mainly in the years leading up to the war. More specifically it focuses on a man who tried unsuccessfully to kill Hitler in the early months of a conflict that would go on to claim 55 million lives. The man is Georg Elser, who was a carpenter who was unaffiliated with any political party. He worked alone and set up a bomb that was set to go off in a beer hall where Hitler had a scheduled meeting. The film's title comes from the fact that the assassination attempt was ultimately unsuccessful, given that the Fuhrer left the target location thirteen minutes ahead of schedule. Oddly, Elser is a man who is little known. This is especially strange when you consider how well known the later assassination attempt on Hitler by Claus von Stauffenberg is. Elser by contrast seems to have been marginalised by history, which is why this film is so welcome as this is a man who deserves to have his story celebrated. Aside from a few intimate conversations and moments, the details contained in this film are based on historical accounts.

The structure of the story is told from the point that Elser is caught just after the bombing. From here he is interrogated by the Nazis and the story flashes back in sections so that we see how this musician/carpenter came to ultimately undertake his dangerous act. In taking this approach, the film is able to not only tell a historical drama but to also look at Nazi Germany in the years leading up to the war, specifically life in the countryside. Life in German rural villages always seems somewhat idyllic as was exploited by the Heimat films of the time and so it is especially jarring to see life continue in such a place but with an ever increasing Nazi presence, initially shown by the presence of small groups of brown shirts through to large swastika flags draped all over town leading ultimately to active persecution of citizens. People undesirable to the Nazis are taken away or pilloried by the authorities and the people of the village feel powerless to do anything about it. The film considers just how hard it was to actually go counter to the Nazi system at the time, seeing that all aspects of life were geared against disobedience to the Nazi state.

13 Minutes is a very good film because it combines a little know but important story with a setting in Nazi Germany rarely focused on. The performances are universally excellent and the overall authenticity is impressive. This extends to some disturbing torture scenes which feature actual Nazi interrogation methods. It's, therefore, a fairly intense film but one that surprisingly finds new things to tell us about a period in history which has had so many cinematic treatments and documentaries. It should go some way to elevate Elser himself more into the public consciousness and ensure his actions are never forgotten.

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6 out of 8 people found the following review useful:

Interesting

7/10
Author: kyliem11 from United Kingdom
10 April 2016

Interesting movie about a failed attempt to assassinate Adolf Hitler in 1939. The lead character Elser, well played by Christian Friedel, is a young carpenter who see's trouble coming in the form of Hitler and decides to do something about it. We start with the assassination, which fails by 13 minutes, hence the title, because Hitler leaves early. The rest of the story is told using flashbacks while Elser is being interrogated. Some of the interrogation methods used are quite brutal and show what it must have been like if you crossed the Nazi party back in the thirties and forties.

This true story is well told and makes interesting viewing.

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7 out of 10 people found the following review useful:

Story worth telling

7/10
Author: peefyn from Norway
7 November 2015

Movie about assassination-attempts has a natural point to use as its climax: the attempt itself. It would not be easy to keep the ending surprising if the target is Adolf Hitler, and the year 1939. This movie thankfully does not attempt to build to the grand assassination attempt, but opens with it, and spends the rest of the runtime pondering: Who is this Elser guy? What did he do? How did he do it? Why did he do it? It does this by using the interrogations as a sort of frame, and then delving into episodes from Elser's life. It does not attempt to tell his entire life story, but rather pick scenes helpfully to understand the state of mind he was in during that pivotal moment in 1939.

This is an interesting story that is very much worth telling. Elser seems to be an extraordinary character, and it's one of those moments in history where everything could have been completely different. The movie has taken some shortcuts though, as is to be expected. Elser is shown as both a clever, talented man (as he was), but at also with some faults. He is shown as almost apolitical, which makes for an interesting character, but the movie would have been better if they had explored what is known about Elser's actual relationship with Nazism.

Over all it is a movie worth seeing, even though it is easy to be bored by all of the movie about the brave men who fought Nazism, as they often spend very little time on how Nazis also were people. Good vs evil is a misrepresentation. That said, this movie handles much better than many other movies with similar subjects.

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4 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

I wish Hirschbiegel and Breinersdorfer had Elser's bravery

6/10
Author: Thomas (filmreviews@web.de) from Berlin, Germany
1 November 2015

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

"Elser" is a German movie from this year that runs slightly under 2 hours. The director is Oliver Hirschbiegel and you may have seen his Oscar nominee "Der Untergang" or "Das Experiment". This one here is his newest work and just like "Der Untergang", it is another movie closely related to Nazi Germany. Fred and Léonie-Claire Breinersdorfer is a father-daughter pairing and we will probably see more of them in the future. The woman has worked mostly on television so far, while her father has written the Oscar nominated "Sophie Scholl" among other films.

The lead actor is Christian Friedel, who you may or may not have seen in Michael Haneke's "Das weiße Band". Just like in that one, Friedel plays alongside Burghart Klaußner, who plays the biggest supporting character here. Of course, Friedel plays the title character in this one. Georg Elser was German resistance fighter who tried to assassinate Hitler long before Stauffenberg and yet the latter has many films (inclusing Tom Cruise's) made about him why Elser has almost none. I saw Klaus Maria Brandauer played him once roughly 25 years ago, but even that movie hardly anybody saw. So why isn't Elser more famous in film. I can only speculate here. Maybe there is not enough known about his life before or after the assassination attempt or maybe he simply is not an interesting character.

In any case, I just checked for Katharina Schüttler's character and I cannot find anything about a woman named Elsa in Elser's life. Also I cannot see how closely Nebe really was to Elser. Yes he probably played a role in a later assassination attempt, but did he really know and directly meet Elser? I guess it may be true that we simply do not know enough about the real Elser to make this a fascinating and authentic watch. About Katharina Schüttler, I kind of like her as an actress, but somehow I feel her characters, especially the historic ones, are frequently very similar, so that it looks to me that she keeps playing the same characters. I hope she will get out of that niche soon. I'm sure she has the talent. Burghart Klaußner is easily one of my favorite actors and I was certainly curious about him in this one as he also scored another German Film Awards nomination, but as a whole I was sadly fairly underwhelmed by him. I guess the character was not written interestingly enough for Klaußner to make a lasting impression like he did with Fritz Bauer recently. Johann von Bülow plays the epitome evil Nazi official, something we have seen a hundred times already in the same manner.

This is also generally the problem of the movie: The only thing somewhat innovative here is that the title character is fairly unknown today, but the story and everything they constructed around him was not innovative by any means. Of course, it's difficult to bring something new to the table with all these Nazi movies made, but Hirschbiegel has done it before, so I am a bit disappointed it became all so generic here. One interesting elaboration could have been for example why Elser wasn't killed right away after he confessed, but lived on for another 5 years. Pretty strange if you try to kill the Fuehrer isn't it? And maybe Neve should have gotten his own movie. He felt a bit wasted here. Still, all in all, not a bad watch by any means, just a mediocre script that does not do justice to the character of Georg Elser I am sure. Could have been a lot more this movie. Still worth a watch for everybody with an interest in German history of the 20th century.

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5 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

Biography about Georg Elser , a German worker who planned and carried out an elaborate assassination attempt on Adolf Hitler in Munich

7/10
Author: ma-cortes from Santander Spain
20 April 2016

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

In November 1939, Georg Elser's (Christian Friedel) attempt to assassinate Adolf Hitler fails , and he is arrested . During his confinement , the man who recognized the danger emanating from Hitler sooner than many others recalls the events -by means of flashbacks- leading up to his plot and his reasons for deciding to take such drastic action . As it relates the background of the failed attack in the Bürgerbräukeller . As the exciting story takes us from his early years in the Swabian Alps - when National Socialism arrived in his hometown . Meanwhile , Gestapo detains his girlfriend Elsa (Katharina Schüttler). At the end takes us to his last days at the Dachau concentration camp .

This acceptable and intriguing movie deals with the resistance fighter George Elser , a man who could have changed world history and saved millions of human lives. His life and the famous event from how was orchestrated the dangerous , risked plot was professionally directed by Oliver Hirschbiegel . The film is correctly based on true events and real Nazis characters and well played by a fine plethora of German actors such as Christian Friedel , Katharina Schüttler and Burghart Klaußner as Nebe . The movie gives an actual , suspenseful, emotional portrayal of Georg Elser ; packing intense drama , thrills , chills , brutal tortures and portentous interpretations . There is a meticulous and cruelty description of tortures . Torture scenes being depicted in great detail and crudity , though it results to be shocking and excessive , displaying a detailed exploitation violence . Efficiently directed by Oliver Hirschbiegel , though with no originality ¨. At the beginning , Oliver directed some episodes of TV series as Kommissar Rex and Baby Rex . His greatest hit smash is , of course , the magnificent ¨Downfall¨ and working for Hollywood in : ¨The invasion¨ with Nicole Kidman and shooting ¨Five minutes of heaven¨ . His greatest hits were ¨The experiment¨ and ¨The downfall¨.

The picture is well based on historical events , these are the followings : on 8 November 1939 Elser carried out a failed attempt to assassinate Hitler and other high-ranking Nazi leaders , he , then is detained . A time bomb that Elser constructed and placed near the speaking platform failed to kill Hitler, who left earlier than expected, but killed eight people and injured over sixty-two others. Unknown to Elser, Hitler had initially cancelled his speech at the Bürgerbräukeller to devote his attention to planning the imminent war with France, but changed his mind and attended after all. As Hitler ordered Heinrich Himmler to put Arthur Nebe , head of Kripo (Criminal Police), in charge of the investigation into the Munich bombing. Himmler did this, but also assigned total control of the investigation to the chief of the Gestapo, Heinrich Müller. Müller immediately ordered the arrest of all Bürgerbräukeller personnel, while Nebe ran the onsite investigation, sifting through the debris. Nebe had early success, finding the remains of brass plates bearing patent numbers of a clock maker in Schwenningen, Baden-Würtemberg. Despite the clear evidence of the German make, Himmler released to the press that the metal parts pointed to 'foreign origin' . Himmler offered a reward of 500,000 marks for information leading to the capture of the culprits, and the Gestapo was soon deluged with hundreds of suspects. Elser was transferred from Múnich prison to to Berlin Gestapo Headquarters . His parents, siblings and their spouses, together with his former girlfriend Else Härlen, were taken by train to Berlin to be held in Moabit prison and then in the grand Hotel Kaiserhof . His mother, sister Maria Hirth, brother-in-law Karl Hirth and Else Härlen were also cruelly interrogated . Apart from Maria Hirth and her husband, who were considered accomplices and imprisoned for over one year, the family members and Else Härlen were allowed to return home . Elser was held as a prisoner for over five years until executed at the Dachau concentration camp.

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2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

Oliver Hirschbiegel interesting film.

8/10
Author: psagray from Spain
7 August 2016

Oliver Hirschbiegel reprises with 'Elser: Er hätte die Welt verändertla" that can be your favorite subject: World War II and the figure of Adolf Hitler. If in 2004 we showed intense and oppressively the last days of the Third Reich as well as the magnetic figure of the Fuhrer in 'Der Untergang' (masterful composition makes Bruno Ganz dictator) now shows us a second chapter (has in mind making a third film that completes the trilogy) over Nazi Germany, bringing out one of the chapters that more shame has always generated in the German intellectual branch in the last 80 years: the attempted assassination of Hitler in the 39. And I say shame because it is the most widespread feeling in much of Germany that years later would look like almost everyone looked away trying to save his skin above anything else. I say almost because Elser no. In his opinion he prevailed the common good above his own when it detected the magnitude of the problem I had at home, the problem of the emergence and dominance of German National Socialism and the figure of masterfully lampooned by Charles Chaplin, Adolf Hitler.

It was, next to the "Valkyrie" operation clearer the chance to kill Hitler; with the difference that the latest attack was carried out when most of the damage was done and this first attempt the killing machine had not yet reached the stage crusher.

The film is really interesting and shows everyone an intentionally hidden in memory Hirschbiegel chapter and put on the table: to learn from past mistakes in times where it seems to bloom again the most active belligerent and extreme right.

Although many of the situations in the film are well known to us, not lack literature on the subject; a humble approach, and skillful craftsman against seven-headed hydra, is far more novel and gives the film an added interest.

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2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

History and what led to that point

6/10
Author: kosmasp
23 June 2016

Obviously this being based on an actual event (or events for that matter), this had to be made with great care. And you can feel the weight that lies upon this movie. But it never falters under it. It does stand its ground, which is a tough thing to do. Even tougher when you realize how many movies about Hitler have been made and what they all try to accomplish.

While it is based on something that happened, as with almost every other movie, it takes a couple of liberties. One of them being the time-line jumps. You may be in the "present" (that's late 40s for you), but the movie always skips back and looks on things that are being discussed or generally a look on the character and what he's been through. Not as much as some others obviously, having friends and what not, but still a more than engaging story that is worth telling indeed

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2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

The man who stopped Hitler almost ....

7/10
Author: Horrorliefhebber from Belgium
22 April 2016

-13 Minutes (German: Elser – Er hätte die Welt verändert) is a 2015 German drama film directed by Oliver Hirschbiegel that tells the true story of Georg Elser's failed attempt to assassinate Adolf Hitler in November 1939. The title of the film is drawn from the fact that Elser's bomb detonated in a venue that the Fuhrer had left just 13 minutes before.

-It was screened out of competition at the 65th Berlin International Film Festival. It was one of eight films shortlisted by Germany to be their submission for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film at the 88th Academy Awards, but it lost out to Labyrinth of Lies.

--Plot: -In November 1939, after planting a bomb inside a column of a Munich bierkeller, Georg Elser (Christian Friedel) attempts to cross into neutral Switzerland but is caught at the border. His home-made bomb detonates but misses killing Adolf Hitler, the German leader, by just 13 minutes.

--Critical reception: -The film has been received generally positively by critics, holding a 60% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The review in The Guardian newspaper noted the film as '...a heartfelt study of a man who tried to kill Hitler' The newspaper was also very complimentary about Christian Friedel's performance as Elser.

-However, the entertainment magazine Variety were less impressed, saying '... the absence of subtlety combined with predictable dollops of sentimentalism once again trivialize events in the name of making them understandable.' In the Daily Telegraph review, the reviewer noted the film as having an '...overbearing sentimentalism and lacquered, Oscar-hungry sheen'.

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A man who tried to rewrite the history.

6/10
Author: Reno Rangan from Somewhere in the Cosmos
24 October 2016

This is a German film based on a real person called Georg Elser who attempted to assassinate Adolf Hitler in the 1939. From the director of 'Diana' fame and it was one of the contenders from the Germany to represent the nation at the 88th American Academy Awards, but in the end it lost the bet to another WWII drama. So if you are interested in the WWII, then you should try it. But remember this is not a war film like guns and bombs, it just takes place around the same time.

The film reveals something we never knew before. Georg Elser is a carpenter by profession and a part time musician. Hails from the rural Germany who falls in love with a married woman. But the real story begins after he failed his mission, later he caught by police and tortured to confess his crime. Then it takes us a few years back and reveals part by part his life and the event related to the opening scene.

Basically, this film ends before beginning to take off. Precisely to say, when the Elser's plan flopped/ended, the film almost lost its strength. Just like the title says, that 13 minutes of the film was something like a short film. But what comes later were different than all the information I read about the film. So the rest of the film was an interrogation that tells both his personal life, as well as how he prepared to kill the Hitler and the reason behind it.

Little slow and mostly boring, nonetheless inspired by a real person makes this watchable. Because what he attempted was not some silly thing. If, if he had succeeded that, the history would have been rewritten. Maybe the aftermath of that, who knows what the world would have looked like right now without the WWII. The tension might have still persisted, but kind of impossible to predict anything particular about that theory.

"If humanity is not free, everything dies with it."

Anyway, Georg Elser's personal life was not that interesting, but I am disappointed about this film that failed to disclose his intellectual undertaking to show us on the screen very inspiring way or maybe you can say thrill way. Because those parts comes and goes like a shooting star, I mean that fast. The remaining film drags mostly with drama. Since the storytelling was split into frequent of the present timeline (1939) and flashbacks, some of the important events kept for the final revelation, but did not strike.

Some of the scenes were raw, but not as much as a few the WWII films I had seen. The problem for me was it is not sentimental as it should have been. Because many events how they have turned out should have had left the strong feeling on the viewers. It's not the bad performances, I actually liked everybody, but the screenplay was not designed for its full potential. I don't know what is the original source material, but it was like they hurried to make it without more research.

When a film is a biography, I don't care about the entertainment. But I always look for the reason why it deserved to be a film. In that perspective, this film interested me for just one reason and that's I already mentioned somewhere in the above. I did not like as much as the critics and some of the film fanatics did. All I wanted was it to be a little clever, maybe a fine editing to place the scenes at the right spots would have saved it. I think I can suggest it, just to know about this person, but other than the its nothing very impressive. Mostly anybody would predict the story, especially the conclusion.

6.5/10

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