The German Doctor (2013) Poster

User Reviews

Add a Review
23 Reviews
Sort by:
Fascinating, emotionally moving movie with solid performances!
Matt Kocian14 September 2013
Seen at 2013 Cannes Film Festival, section "Un Certain Regard"

Movie "Wakolda" challenges possible escape of Nazi physician Josef Mengele (Alex Brendemühl) to Bariloche, Argentina, in 1960, after being successfully in hiding for over a decade in Buenos Aires. On the road he meets an Argentinian family and becomes fascinated with their daughter Lilith (Florencia Bado) who was born premature and thus has smaller body for her age. Upon their arrival to Bariloche, Mengele, going by name Helmut Gregor, becomes a guest of family's lodging house. With permission of mother Eva (Natalia Oreiro) and behind father's Enzo (Diego Peretti) back, Mengele starts to treat Lilith with growth hormones, which reopens his fascination with pure Aryan race...

The movie has exceptional score, cinematography and direction, almost fully shot in Bariloche's exteriors. The story develops into psychological thriller and suspense especially in moments where the family has no idea who the stranger in their house truly is, but spectators are fully aware of his true nature. Director Puenzo managed to incorporate into her movie elements of Nazi fascination by local community, mystery of genetic research and innocence of young Lilith who feels privileged to get stranger's attention.

Alex Brendemühl is chilling as the "Angel of Death", while Florencia Bado gives solid performance, especially being it her first movie role. Natalia Oreiro, Diego Peretti and Elena Roger manage to capture essence of their diverse characters and have on-screen moments with stunning performances. Oreiro convincingly portrays a mother who submits her child to hormone experimentation believing it to be the only option to help Lilith as she blames herself for having her prematurely.

The movie is multilayer and touches topics of Argentinian history that is not known to many. "Wakolda" is certainly an extraordinary movie experience.
74 out of 81 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Argentinian family ostensibly "helped" by sadistic Nazi Dr Mengeles
maurice yacowar25 April 2014
Warning: Spoilers
The original title of The German Doctor (and its source novel) is Wakolda. That's the name of little Lillith's (Florencia Bado) favourite doll, with a hole where its heart should be. When she drops the doll it's picked up and returned by the mysterious stranger, who turns out to be the sadistic Nazi scientist Dr. Josef Mengele (Alex Brendemuhl), operating under an assumed name. From that moment Mengele insinuates himself into Lillith's life and on into her parents'. The undersized girl and the empty doll attract Mengele's suspect interest, ostensibly out of compassion but really under cold detachment.

The doll image is central. Lillith's father Enzo (Diego Peretti) is a meticulous one-of-a- kind doll maker who eventually gives Wakolda a mechanical heart. He also gives Lillith and her two brothers — via mother Eva (Natalia Orero), true — new sibling twins. Over Enzo's objections Eva lets Mengele treat Lillith's stunted growth and she takes his pregnancy prescriptions. At the twins' struggling birth Enzo is torn between wanting to banish the dangerous doctor and needing him to save them. In the end, after Mengele escapes the Mossad to Uraguay, he has branded the twins. One is normal, "the control"; the other struggles in Mengele's heartless experiment.

When Mengele finances the mass production of Enzo's beautiful dolls he has several motives. One is to ingratiate himself yet further in the household, so he can continue his furtive and open measurements and experiments. His given excuse is "I love beauty." But he is fascinated by "the harmony of imperfections." The racks of porcelain dolls are more ominous than beautiful. They suggest an army of Aryan uniformity. In the piles of doll parts about to be assembled we are reminded of the images of concentration camp corpses. Both are Mengele's factories.

Like any film set in some "then" the implicit pertinence is the "now." In 1960 Patagonia the German school remains passionately Nazi. When classmates beat up Lillith's friend for uncovering a buried cache of Nazi materials, the victim boy is expelled for belligerence. Lillith, born premature, is bullied and tormented for being short for her age. The archivist and photographer Nora (Elena Roger), an undercover agent who calls Mossad to arrest Mengele, is reported found dead in the snow the day after his escape. The film points ahead to both Argentina's Dirty War and the contemporary resurgence of anti-Semitism not just in Europe but on North American campuses.

And of course, Mengele is only rumoured to have died by drowning. Wherever science proceeds blinded to humanity by a heartless curiosity the spirit of the Angel of Death survives. Those supermen who styled themselves Sonnenman, sun folk, were rather demons of the dark. For medicine, science, any branch of human learning, is like our last sense of those twins: possibly healthy, possibly deadly. The question always is: does the favourite have a heart? For more see
23 out of 24 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
jeffk-196216 September 2014
Just saw one of the most compelling movies I have seen in quite a long time. "The German Doctor". It has the beautiful scenery of Bariloche Argentina shot throughout and some of the best acting I have seen in years along with a compelling musical score. It's basic plot deals with Mengele, perhaps one of the greatest villains to have survived the fall of the Nazi empire. He travels into Argentina and ingratiates himself with an Argentine family of Germany ethnicity. The role played by the doctor is both chilling and fascinating. Mengele comes across at first as a benevolent force, but soon we develop the insight not only as to who this person is, but how casually he dehumanizes everyone to meet his own terms of science and beauty. Pay special attention to the symbolism of dolls and their "sameness". The acting is exquisite, with Florencia Bado who conveys the innocence of a young girl who trusts "the German Doctor" as well as Natalia Oriero and Diego Peretti. There is no gruesome violence in this movie, no "action sequence", no CGI, no bad language, no nudity. Only the chilling suspense and dialogue of an evil passing itself as benevolence. The stark winter landscape and beautiful forests of that region are known to me and they were captured in a magnificent way. I cannot recommend this movie enough.
15 out of 15 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
A gripping drama about the Auschwitz Angel of Death
jkbonner14 May 2014
Warning: Spoilers
This is one of the best movies I've seen in quite a while. Although the Argentinian family in the movie is fictitious, there is much truth about the movie. It takes place in and around the city of San Carlos de Bariloche (aka simply Bariloche) in Argentinian Patagonia.

Bariloche had a large contingent of German immigrants long before World War II and it was a recognized haven for Nazi war criminals after the War. It is also one of the most beautiful parts of Argentina known for its snow-capped mountains and Lake Nahuel Huapi, all of which are splendidly shown in the movie. There was even a rumor floating around at one time that Adolf Hitler and his mistress/wife, Eva Braun, lived there after the War.

The Angel of Death is of course the infamous Dr. Josef Mengele (1911-1979?), chief SS staff physician at the notorious Auschwitz-Birkenau labor/death camp from early 1943 to early 1945. What makes Mengele so heinous were his genetic experiments, particularly on twins and dwarfs. He was also involved in making the decision at the camp as to who would be used for labor and who would be sent to the gas chamber and certain death. Reading even a bit about his life will quickly convince you he was a true psychopath.

The movie opens in 1960. Mengele (Àlex Brendemühl)―known by his pseudonym Helmut Gregor―is traveling to Bariloche along a lone, unpaved road where he encounters an Argentinian family: Enzo (Diego Peretti), Eva (Natalia Oreiro), Lilith (Florencia Bado), and their teenage son. Gregor/Mengele notices that Lilith, twelve, is very short for her age. Although he is very friendly with her, you can see the wheels turning in his head that she would make an excellent subject for one of his experiments. BTW Bado in her first film role does an outstanding job portraying the intelligent, but vulnerable, Lilith.

Even at this early stage Enzo subconsciously picks up on Gregor/Mengele as a threat to his family, but since he has nothing overt to go on, lets Gregor/Mengele follow him on the unpaved road toward Bariloche. Eva is of German descent but born in Argentina. She has learned German at a private school in Bariloche run by Germans for German Argentinians. The family plans to restore a resort hotel and Gregor/Mengele volunteers to become their first paying guest. Soon he is injecting hormones into Lilith with Eva's consent in an attempt to make her grow. This is despite Enzo warning Eva that she is specifically not to let Gregor/Mengele perform any experiments on Lilith without his consent. Eva is also pregnant with twins and soon lets Gregor/Mengele begin experimenting with her preborn children. Lilith becomes a student at the private school in Bariloche that her mother attended. She is befriended by a young photographer there, Nora Eldoc (Elena Roger). Eldoc recognizes Gregor as Mengele, confronts him, and shows the evidence of his experiments on Lilith and the twins. Eldoc has also reported his whereabouts, making it necessary for him to flee Argentina. For this he tells her in effect she will soon be murdered.

The story ends with Eva realizing what a horrible mistake she has made by allowing Gregor/Mengele to treat her while pregnant and to treat Lilith. One of her twins is born with bad health from Gregor/Mengele's genetic/hormonal experimentation and Lilith may suffer from the injection of too much growth hormone for the rest of her life. At the very end we see a small seaplane flying off to Paraguay carrying Gregor/Mengele escaping the long arm of Mossad. The next day Eldoc is discovered in a cave in the mountains, dead, just as Gregor/Mengele has insinuated.

Nora Eldoc was a real person who was an undercover Israeli agent in Bariloche who was murdered as described above. Although fictitious, the movie is supported by a solid bed of facts. There are subtleties in the movie I have neglected in order to keep this review manageable―such as the significance of the porcelain dolls, Gregor/Mengele's detailed notes of his experiments and his fascination with measurement, the abject respect many of the German Argentinians display towards Gregor/Mengele, and Eva's conflicts with Enzo. The acting's outstanding as is the cinematography. Written and directed by Lucía Puenzo.

This movie ought to win some awards. I saw it at Laemmle's Playhouse 7 in Pasadena, California USA. The theater was not very crowded. Unfortunately this movie will probably not attract a large audience. This is a real shame because it really should be seen. And it should be seen because Mengele was a monster in reality and he truly existed. And he truly and habitually did the things that the movie depicts him doing. That such a person can really exist should be a lot more frightening than vampires and zombies.

18 out of 19 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
More Creepy than Scary but still good
jeremyochsgonzales3 May 2014
Warning: Spoilers
Last weekend my husband and I went to see the movie "The German Doctor". The film is set in Argentina in the early 1960's and is based on true events. I am both a film buff and a history buff so the film was right up my alley.

After World War 2 there were many Nazi war criminals that fled to South America to escape prosecution for their crimes against humanity. One of them was Josef Mengele, who had done human experimentation at Auschwitz during the holocaust and was known as the "angel of death".

In the film an Argentine family is traveling to the Patagonia region of Argentina to reopen a family hotel. As they travel they meet a German doctor who befriends them. Although the father of the family is never really keen on the doctor the mother and daughter do take a liking to him. Once the family reaches their destination it is clear there is something not quite right about the doctor. The daughter was born prematurely and has always been the smallest girl her age. The doctor promises that growth hormones that have been used on cows could help the girl catch up to her peers. Is he trying to help or his he just experimenting on this poor Argentine girl for the sake of experimenting?

What is interesting about the film is seeing the close relationship between Argentina and Germany. I already know about the Nazi's that escaped there after World War 2 but I hadn't really thought about the connection during or before the war. That connection becomes obvious early in the film when the mother is talking about how she went to the German school in Patagonia when she was a child. She is looking at some old pictures and in the background is the Nazi flag. It was a shocking image but it made sense. When somebody takes a foreign language class the classroom usually has flags and pictures of countries that speak that language. Why would a German school in Argentina in the 1930s or 1940s be any different? It also made me really understand that there had to already be Nazi sympathizers in Argentina during the Holocaust who would have been willing to help the Nazi's escape after the war.

The acting is good and I enjoyed the film switching back and forth from Spanish to German. I thought the movie would be an intense thriller but in the end the film was more creepy than scary. Still, it was a good film worth seeing. I think it is important for Americans to understand the history of other parts of the world. The film has gotten a very limited release so if it isn't in theater near you be sure to check it out on video.

For more movie reviews check out my blog
13 out of 14 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Armand10 April 2014
more than a movie , it is an experience. a special puzzle from many historical details and a thriller who seduce at whole. because all is at perfect place - the acting, the script, the music. and the cold feeling about the evil essence. a remarkable film for the smart use of past shadows. and for the manner to explore each. Alex Brendemuhl does one of his great roles as one of post war legends. Natalia Oreira is far by soap opera classic circle. and the landscapes are ideal tool to suggest, to define the atmosphere. a movie for reflection. because its message remains universal. and it seems be more and more important. against forgetting. and as brilliant example of precise movie about past stains.
22 out of 26 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
He was living there, buried alive.
Nathan L30 March 2014
A stranger, with a foreign accent, asks if he can follow a family on the road towards the South. The father agrees, though everyone look at him warily. Everyone but Lilith, the 12 year-old girl who looks 8, fascinated by this man fixing his gaze on her.

Lucia Puenzo is known for exploring difficult and unusual relationships, and this particular feature makes her movies quite appealing. Add to that, beautiful landscapes, solid directing and you've got one of the best thrillers of 2013.

Also interesting to see, the way South America coped with ex-NSDAP members and how they continued to live and work amidst general indifference.

Some things seem like never ending, and as such this movie truly acts like a spell.
19 out of 23 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Reality is scarier than fiction
aharmas2 May 2014
Warning: Spoilers
I know they're both doctors, seeking pleasure in the darkest realms of the mind and life. As fascinating as Lecter is in "Silence of the Lambs", Mendele outdoes him by a mile in "The German Doctor", a chilling and observational adaptation of a true story. Lecter satisfies his gourmet needs through various methods which from seduction to sheer violence. Mendele's mind is a labyrinth, clouded by forces very few might ever understand. We just know he's one entity you don't want to be around, no matter whether you're in his good or bad graces. Either way, he'll draw you into hell.

An Argentinian family becomes the target of his latest project, and he wanders into their immediate circle, one that is already a bit complex because it is partly made up of a lady with German ties, something which makes us think she either has close ties or will become key to the eventual manhunt. This is the first act, and the mystery starts. This gets confusing because the doctor soon has his sights on the younger daughter in the family. She's his new experimental obsession, or maybe just a step along the way to his real targets.

The film explores the environment where a monster like him can survive and keep avoiding his capture. Blood chills when we watch the school which is educating the future German wave. This is more striking because this is all happening in a place which brings to mind paradise, until Mendele talks about it as home. We know this is problematic for everyone else.

We have a detective story, an expose of a dark world and the dark forces that manage to keep going and going. The film is presented in a very interesting manner because it is very controlled, never cold or distant, never too sensationalistic. We pick up the emotions from simple drawings, like being in a zoo and watching hunters and preys. It is impossible to look away. In addition, there is psychological and historical elements, and it all feels real.

A rare film, one which doesn't preach, or bore you. It lets you observe, study, meditate, and think about what happen, is happening, and might even happen again.
10 out of 11 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Argentina/Spain co-production based on facts about a family harboring Joseph Mengele , one of the biggest killers of all time
ma-cortes16 September 2014
Entertaining and suspenseful thriller about Joseph Mengele and a good family , starring an excellent plethora of actors as Àlex Brendemühl, Diego Peretti, Guillermo Pfening, Natalia Oreiro, Florencia Bado and Elena Roger and being Argentina's submission for the Oscar for best foreign language film . Based on Lucia Puenzo's readable novel , and also filmmaker , this is an exciting thriller about The Doctor "Joseph Méngüele", (Àlex Brendemühl) known member of the Nazi party German, and cruel doctor of the concentration camp of Auschwitz ; concerning in the years he spent "hiding", along with many other Nazi's, in South America following his escape from Germany . He escaped and pursued by the Mossad took refuge in Paraguay and Brazil after the fall of the Third Reich as many war criminals did after the war . There in South America get together a group of young people , militants of the Third Reich, to work in strange issues in which he can proceed their repugnant experiments on genetic engineering and twins . As the subtle veil of horror draped over things we take for granted as good and wonderful aspects of humanity is deeply unsettling . Mengele attempts to reconstitute the Nazi movement from his sanctuary cloning of boys' genes and carrying out terrible practices ; in fact , at that time cloning was on initial developing . As his clammy presence returns to the big screen with this Argentine drama based on the true story of a family who lived with Josef Mengele without knowing his true identity, and of a girl who fell in love with one of the biggest criminals of all time . Patagonia, 1960 . A German doctor (Alex Brendemühl) meets an Argentinean family and follows them on a long desert road to Bariloche , arriving in a small town where the family will be starting a new life , there they run a hotel in the icy boondocks , but 'once a Nazi scumbag, always a Nazi scumbag', and soon Mengele's back pursuing his interest in eugenics on the youngest member of the clan . As Eva (Natalia Oreiro), Enzo (Diego Peretti) and their three children welcome the doctor into their inherited hotel and entrust their young daughter, Lilith (Florencia Bado) . Lilith (played by the newcomer Florencia Bado) is remarkably small for her age, and is often the victim of much teasing at school as a result. However there appears to be a cure for her lack of growth , as the local German doctor . Soon Mengele is living in the lakeside hotel the family operates, investing in dad Enzo's custom doll-making business, and making medical suggestions for how undersized Lilith — who looks like an eight-year-old and is teased at school as a "dwarf" — might jump start her growth and kick-start her delayed adolescence . Wakolda is the name of our 12 year old protagonist's doll, and is therefore emblematic of her innocence, which is far more poignant. Meanwhile , a photographer begins to investigate and discovers the horrible plan of "Méngüele¨ , the "Angel of Death," , one of the most dangerous criminals in the world.

The screenplay by Lucia Puenzo takes some licenses about Mengele real-life but is nicely developed and gets certain tension and amusement with moral dilemma included . Its importance lies mostly in its dramatic as well as thrilling approach . Wakolda" (original title) which represents a more fitting , symbolic title to truly capture the essence of this moving, disquieting drama ; being also titled "The German Doctor" or ¨El medico Aleman" results to be a suspense movie that amuses and entertains , has good taste and in general lines is above average . Story is not boring , neither tiring but is entertaining at any time, though it is true that turns into a picture that tends to underline its latent absurdities and entangled in his ending . After all, this picture is not about the doctor, as such , but his relationship with the young Lilith , finding a strand of intimacy amidst an otherwise comprehensive, implicative narrative . In the picture appears some of the best Argentinean actors such as Natalia Oreiro as Eva , Diego Peretti as Enzo , both of whom give nice interpretations . Special mention to Spanish Àlex Brendemühl , he is terrific as a brutal Josef Mengele .

The motion picture was well written and directed by Lucia Puenzo . As Puenzo efficiently seeks to explore the banality - and impunity - of a devastating evil . Lucía Puenzo's third feature film to follow the critically acclaimed Xxy and The Fish Child . Wakoda premiering in the Un Certain Regard programme at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival ; Puenzo's latest went on to be nominated as Argentina's official entry at this year's Academy Awards amidst much acclaim .
12 out of 14 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Maintains Creepiness & Tension Throughout
Larry Silverstein9 November 2014
Warning: Spoilers
This Argentinian drama, written and directed by Lucia Puenzo, based on her novel "Wakolda", maintains a great deal of creepiness and subtle tension throughout. There are also lots of fine and realistic performances by pretty much the entire cast here.

Set in 1960, in the Argentine city of Bariloche, Alex Brendemuhl leads the way here with a understated and chilling performance as Helmut Gregor, a German refugee and physician, and whom we slowly learn may indeed be Josef Mengele, aka "The Angel of Death", for his atrocities and human experiments at the Auschwitz death camp during WW2.

He begins to utilize every opportunity to ingratiate himself with an Argentinian family, who are trying to reopen a hotel, in Bariloche, that was bequeathed to them by a recently deceased family member. The family consists of the father Enzo (Diego Paretti), the mother Eva (Natalia Oreiro), their daughter Lilith (Florencia Bado), who by the way is remarkable in her screen debut, and Lilith's two brothers Tomas and Polo.

Lilith is quite small for a 12-year-old girl, and is being bullied and harassed by her classmates at her new school. She'll become a particular target for the doctor, as he tries to convince her parents that he can help her to grow with an experimental hormone treatment. Lilith and Eva are receptive to his offers , but Enzo is wisely suspicious of the doctor's intentions from the very start. The doctor even tries to win over Enzo by investing in his part-time doll making business.

However, when a local archivist and photographer at the school, Nora Eldoc (Elena Roger), who may also be acting as an Isreali Mossad agent, spots the doctor, she quickly discovers he may indeed be Mengele. Tensions will quickly grow in the town, which is filled with Nazi sympathizers, who even celebrate the birth date of Hitler each year. Things will reach a boiling point when the doctor gets involved in the care of treatment of Eva's newly born twins.

In summary, although there were some plot details that didn't quite add up near the end, I felt overall this movie was very engrossing and, as mentioned, maintained a tone of tension throughout and I would say is certainly worth a watch. By the way, just to mention the cinematography outside of the hotel, with the beautiful lake at the base of the snow capped Andes mountains was truly spectacular.
4 out of 4 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Prometheus. Blood. Honor.
Boris and Natasha Palmer14 December 2015
Hypnotic scenery matching the scale of the Sonnenmenschen legend. The protagonist's epic ascension to the heaven with South American Alps as a backdrop. A beautiful story in 4 languages, retelling myths of Bariloche. I watched the film several times - without subtitles, without sound, and in black and white. Every time it was a different story: it started as another Nazi'xlpoitation flick, almost like Odessa files, and turned into a road movie, coming of age saga, Patagonian Lolita, and Dr. Faustus noir fairytale.

Lucia Puenzo, you are a magician.

I admire your maddening style of quiet ambivalence. Like the fleeing smile of Nora The Photographer. It is unusual and nice that interpretations and the final judgment are left to spectators. Plenty of untapped potential. Just imagine if authors openly took sides... :)
6 out of 7 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Despite lack of suspense, tale of seduction by almost generic Nazi war criminal, proves fascinating as it is unsettling
Turfseer29 March 2015
Warning: Spoilers
"The German Doctor" is Lucía Puenzo's take on what Nazi war criminal Josef Mengele (aka "The Angel of Death") might have been doing while he was on the run in Argentina in the early 60s. Puenzo has fashioned her story based on her own 2011 novel, "Wakolda." Since Mengele is revealed to be Puenzo's protagonist from the get go, the film offers little in terms of suspense. Nonetheless, "The German Doctor" is worthwhile in other respects and Puenzo manages to convey a believable tale despite its fictional underpinnings.

Puenzo's framing device is a coming of age story focusing on 12 year old Lillith, who has arrived in 1960 with her Argentinian father, Enzo, German-speaking mother, Eva (descended from German immigrants who came to Argentina years before), and brothers Tomas and Polo, to the town of Bariloche, a German enclave in the Patagonian region of Argentina. Enzo and Eva are re-opening a family held inn and their first paying guest is Helmut Gregor, a creepy doctor who actually is Josef Mengele, responsible for ghastly crimes against humanity while he was head doctor at Auschwitz during World War II.

Lillith, a victim of stunted physical development, is unmercifully mocked by fellow students at the German speaking school she attends. In steps Gregor who offers Eva assistance in helping to advance Lillith's maturation by administering growth hormone injections.

As a descendant of ethnic Germans, Eva trusts Gregor instinctively and perhaps is symbolic of the Nazi sympathizers during the Third Reich, whom were seduced by promises of national victory via theories of racial superiority. In order to help her daughter, Eva is willing to betray her husband, who is dead set against the idea of hormone injections that, in his opinion, are against nature.

Not only is Eva seduced, but later Gregor seduces Enzo, by offering to mass produce his special children's porcelain doll design. Enzo perhaps represents the "Good Germans" who were opposed to Nazi theories of racial superiority but were taken in by the quest for material advancement.

Puenzo also does well in reminding us that individuals such as Mengele could not have thrived without the support of the community who gave comfort to him. Gregor aka Mengele received money from ex-Nazis and Nazi sympathizers which was passed on to him by members of the ethnic German community in Argentina. The violence underneath the surface is perhaps best illustrated by the brutal beating of one of the children at the German speaking school by a coterie of latter day descendants of the Hitler Youth.

When Mengele was at Auschwitz, his obsession with twins, would often lead him to conduct barbaric experiments (such as surgically attaching twins together to observe their behavior). Here too he appears to be taking an unhealthy interest in Eva, who is now about to give birth to a set of twins herself. But when Enzo learns of Gregor's administration of hormone treatments on Lillith, he orders the bad doctor off the premises immediately.

In a twist, Eva gives birth to twins who are premature and Enzo has no choice to allow Gregor to assist in helping the twins hours after their birth. Puenzo makes things uncomfortable for everyone by suggesting that evil (in the shape of monster Mengele) has a human face (Gregor), who can harbor ordinary benevolent feelings alongside the monstrous (Gregor's treatment involves prescribing different doses of milk for each infant).

In the end, it hardly matters whether this Mengele is real or a fake. Puenzo's makes the good point that seemingly normal people, irrespective of a past positive ethical history, can be easily seduced by evil, when it suits their interests.
3 out of 3 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
s327616917 September 2015
The German Doctor is, simply put, excellent. It follows the latter life of notorious Nazi doctor and war criminal Joseph Mengele who lives under an alias in 1960's Argentina.

The material is inherently interesting. Mengele was a proponent of Eugenics, the development of a genetic breed of blond, blue eyed super humans cast in the Nazi Aryan mould. There is some evidence to suggest Mengele quietly continued his medical experimentation upon arriving in Argentina.

This film taps into that premise with Mengele taking a scientific interest in an Argentinian family of German descent. Its a thriller with Mengele quietly experimenting on the family. There's a dynamic of growing tension with those supporting Mengele, including elements within the family and those opposed to his actions.

Don't expect lots of over the top thrills and spills in this film. Its subtle with very clever twists and turns. Its about psychological manipulation as much as it is about medical experimentation and the ethics or in this case lack of ethics shown by its proponents. This film also offers up a very dark insight into ingrained bigotry and a warped view of what it means to be human. Are we, like dolls, to be produced en masse in more or less identical form?

The acting is absolutely top notch. Mengele is played with cold, self assured ease by Spanish actor, Àlex Brendemühl. The remaining cast, including Florencia Bado, who plays a young girl, who is, at the heart of Mengeles interest in the family, offers up an equally impressive performance.

This is a truly exceptional thriller that you should see. It has subtitles but everything from the acting, story, settings and directing is executed with such polish this is no real impediment. Ten out of ten from me.
5 out of 6 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Well worth seeing--just don't expect a happy ending.
MartinHafer29 January 2015
"The German Doctor" is an Argentinean film based on real events. Interestingly, the man who wrote the novel, Lucía Puenzo, also wrote the screenplay, produced AND directed this movie. It's also really worth your time, as Puenzo shows a very deft hand helming this interesting picture.

The story is set in Argentina in 1960*. A family has decided to move into the Patagonian countryside and open up a bed guesthouse. Their first customer is a handsome and genial German man who is very easy to like. The daughter in particular spends a lot of time with this man. This is because he is a doctor and claims he might be able to help the girl. After all, although she's 12, she appears to be about 9 years- old and the kids at school make fun of her because of this. With the mother's permission, the good doctor tests out his new formula which might help her to grow. They have no idea exactly what he's giving her, but the formula does seem to help. In addition, since the doctor is such a nice man, he offers to help the pregnant mother who soon learns from the doctor that she's going to have twins. Unfortunately, it turns out that the doctor isn't who he says he is...he's Joseph Mengele-- the notoriously evil Nazi who worked at Auschwitz. And why was he so notorious? Because he performed all sorts of ungodly experiments on people...and his subjects of choice were twins. And, according to the film, his wicked experiments continued long after the war had ended.

While I would love to tell you that the film has a happy ending**, it didn't. After all, this psychopath was one of the most important Nazi war criminals to escape prosecution. So, if you are the type that expects or needs a happy ending, then you just might want to pick another movie. Nevertheless, it is exquisitely crafted and not excessively sad nor graphic--at least in regard to what you see and hear during the course of the film. It's much more thought- provoking than anything else--and a movie that is well worth your time.

*Although I loved the film, the attention to period detail was poor. The film was set in 1960 but many of the cars are late 1960s vintage. **My daughter saw this in the theater and was shocked to hear several people complain about the film because it did not have a happy ending. I hate to think that they wanted them to change history and have the doctor captured and shot. While satisfying, this just isn't what happened to the guy!
5 out of 6 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
The good doctor?
movies-by-db28 August 2015
A simple Argentinian family makes a fresh start by reopening a hotel in the Pategonian mountains left behind by the mothers parents.

Their first guest is a well spoken foreign man, who seems as mysterious as he is intelligent. His interest in this family and his further activities in the nearby town make us wonder about the double agenda he is keeping.

As the family starts to doubt his motives, and other characters also start to show their true colors, we are presented with an intricate tale of mounting tension and international mystery. Of course we know who we are dealing with, and this type of story would work even better if that detail was unknown, but it still works so well as it remains, for the biggest part, fiction. So anything can happen. The fact that we are dealing with THIS monster just gives the whole film an extra layer of creepiness.

The film, to me, didn't come across as Argentinian at all, but I guess the mountainous (and snowy) surroundings and bilingual dialogue caused that. However this didn't matter as these surroundings where pretty spectacular and almost a character of their own.

Sollid acting, all around. Particularly the doctor and the girl, but really everyone involved. As said, beautiful surroundings and locations and always nice to watch a period based story (eventhough some details may not have been entirely right). And above all, great storytelling. Nicely built up tension, never too sensational and it thankfully steers clear of the expected clichés dealing with a character of such history.

Great, engaging, emotional, old fashioned, must see film 8/10
4 out of 5 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
In Patagonia
paul2001sw-113 April 2017
'The German Doctor' is a quiet movie, but with a dark undertone, telling of the sojourn of escaped Nazi doctor Josef Mengele in southern Argentina (in fact, the plot is fiction, but also a surmisable version of the truth). What I liked about this film is that it inclines us to see Mengele as monstrously wrong-headed, but still in some senses still human, while a late revelation still shocks us by revealing the true awfulness of this man. Also, the Patagonian scenery is beautiful and the use of creepy mechanical dolls as a visual metaphor for how Mengele sees humans is also nicely done. But we know that Mengele got away in the end, and the film also tells us (by dint of a voice over, delivered with hindsight) that the girl we see him experiment with also survives. And thus there's just not so much dramatic tension, and the movie is rather slow to advance beyond its premise: most of the impact comes at the end.
2 out of 2 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Harrowing Account of the Experiments of a Truly Malign Person
l_rawjalaurence8 March 2016
Filmed in the rolling landscapes of Patagonia, Argentina, WAKOLDA is a truly harrowing story of the Nazi doctor who continued to practice his experiments well after the Second World War had ended.

In exile and among a group of Nazi sympathizers, Josef Mengele (Àlex Brendemühl) lives under an assumed name, and ingratiates himself with a family running a hotel. Befriending the young daughter Lilith (Florencia Bado) he claims to be able to increase her growth and thereby prevent her from being teased at school for being the smallest in the class. She readily agrees; as do her parents. This provides the pretext for Mengele to continue his macabre researches that actually do more harm than good.

Lucía Puenzo's film contrasts the domestic world of Lilith with the world of the Nazi sympathizers congregating in a local German school. They still practice the salute, and forge a regimented atmosphere guaranteed to impose order on the unwilling learners. Lilith is sent to the school, in the hope of receiving a good education - although remaining largely unaffected by Nazi ideology, she is made painfully aware of her lack of height, which only encourages her to seek Mengele's help even more.

Set in 1960, WAKOLDA draws a direct parallel between Mengele's work and the doll-manufacturing practiced by Lilith's father Enzo (Diego Peretti). At first Enzo makes all the toys himself; but with Mengele's investment the venture is transformed into a small cottage industry, where all the dolls' faces are identical and they are given tiny mechanized beating hearts. We are made painfully aware that Mengele treats humanity with just the same indifference as the factory workers treat their dolls - as material for experimentation rather than living breathing personae.

The film maintains a cool, detached tone throughout; although Israeli agents pursue Mengele with the same enthusiasm as with other ex- Nazis (notably Adolf Eichmann), they fail to capture him. But this is not really the film's concern: director Puenzo is far more concerned with Mengele's terrible plausibility as a practicing doctor taking unwitting victims into his confidence and subsequently abusing them.
2 out of 2 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Kirpianuscus23 February 2016
a special film. not for the theme. only for its subtle, touching, precise exploration. because an ordinary event becomes root for a fascinating trip in the essence of evil. a film who use in perfect manner each of elements who defines it. cold and dramatic, useful remember about the Nazi policy, using a dark figure who, for many, is only a name among many others. the film is remarkable for the inspired style to present the work of a doctor who continues use the people as objects for his plans. the realism, the science to respect the thin line between drama and pink nuances of each dramatic story, the tension are pieces of a film who is out of entertainment's circle but could be a good support for reflection about a period and its sinister figures.
2 out of 2 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Not quite a thrilling thriller
adam wardknott15 October 2014
Puenzo has managed to create an interesting story that revolves around Mengele's arrogant manipulation of an Argentinian family.

Its focus is initially on his relationship with the 12 year-old girl, Lileth, and his wish to help her with growth hormone treatment, however, it is never really made clear in the film as to whether this is merely Mengele seeing an opportunity to carry on his experiments or there is something darker about this relationship. Mengele manages throughout the film to manipulate the parents through promises of helping Lileth and easing the discomfort of the pregnant mother, and even offering to financially back the father in a potentially lucrative doll-making business.

Puenzo uses the doll-making as a metaphor for Mengele's obsession with perfection which is a little heavy-handed, and Mengele's relationship with Lileth is rather confused. Both of these point to the fact that Puenzo could really have opened up the story a bit more as there are hints at something far more sinister going on around the Claustrophobic confines of the family.

The German school Lileth is sent to has an underlying stench of Nazism still at play, yet this is something that Puenzo fails to explore. Also, the character of Nora, an archivist, photographer and Israeli agent, is underdeveloped. Puenzo merely hints at the work of Mossad and the how this is an important factor in the behaviour of both Mengele and Nora, also the group of Nazis working in a nearby country house isn't explained until Eva, the mother, gives birth and this necessitates Mengele requiring the help of the Nazi clinic.

So, for me, Puenzo should have explored many of the underlying themes evident in the story. This felt like a 90 minute movie that could have added another half an hours worth of expositional drama that would have created more of a sense of suspense. As such, Wakolda is an interestingly dark drama, yet one that lacks the depth of a bigger movie.
7 out of 13 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
kyliem1117 April 2016
The true story of Dr Mengele, AKA The Angel Of Death, who, back in 1960, moves in with an Argentinian family, under a pseudonym. It quickly becomes apparent that he is not as clean as he makes out and starts doing experiments on the young daughter Lileth, very well played by Florencia Bado.

Àlex Brendemühl is superb as Mengele, really chilling and frightening and gives an insight into what a seriously deranged person Mengele really was. His desire for an Aryan race continuing long after the war, when he 'invests' some money into a doll factory, which makes doll's that all have to be identical.

There are also some great performances from Natalia Oreiro and Diego Peretti as the parents of Lileth. A fascinating movie, well worth a look.
1 out of 1 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Very Good Movie, even though it made my extremely angry...
Medabloga24 October 2016
Warning: Spoilers
I enjoyed this movie very much regardless of the fact that Mengele eventually escaped. Superb acting, producing and directing. This isn't a Hollywood movie, but a tale of what real life is like where the bad guy doesn't always lose and the good guys aren't always smarter and better.

To be honest, as an Israeli and a Jew, I desired throughout the film for Mengele to be caught by the Mossad (a bit of rewriting history, I am well aware). I was very angry and sad to see Mengele escape. The man is one of the worst human right violators - He literally took part in the murder of Jews in the most gruesome way imaginable. I do hope he suffered throughout his life following WWII. That being said, great acting by Alex Brendemühl. You can tell if someone is a good actor by realizing how much you "hate" him for the characters he plays.

0 out of 0 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Chillingly Good Film
TKBlackburn27 December 2016
Normally I don't like to "read" movies. But this is an exception. It takes place in a Spanish-speaking country with German-speaking characters. It would have been spoiled by Americanization with all English. The subtitles are large & clear enough, but I have a 65" so I can't speak to normal TV size.

It's so well done with story, writing, characters, casting, cinematography, etc. The only reason for 9 out 10 is due to a bad musical choice at the end. I didn't even notice or think about the music throughout. But at the end, the out-of-place music removed me from the otherwise emotionally charged moment. Swelling strings would have enhanced the epic emotions we share with the young lead character. Stomping guitars just stomp on emotions. But even that couldn't ruin it.

Watch it. Learn something about a frightening part of our world history while being moved.
1 out of 2 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
The story after the story.
santiagocosme24 November 2016
The movie unfolds in Argentina where a family owns a small hotel and struggles to make ends meet. One day, a friendly German appears in their lives and wishes to stay for an undefined period with them. As soon as he gets there, he slowly tries to gain the hosts' trust by taking care of their health as if he was a family doctor. However, what lies behind these good intentions is simply a thirst to continue with the experiments he conducted during the second world war for the Germans. The man in question is not just anyone. His name is Josef Mengele, the German doctor who is being hunted by the whole world. Slowly and steadily, the family are forced to rethink the whole situation and wonder whether to get rid of the German doctor who seems to be better connected than one could imagine.
0 out of 1 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this

See also

Awards | FAQ | User Ratings | External Reviews | Metacritic Reviews