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A look at Communist East Germany in its final decade. The story unfolds in 1982, when the cracks in the repressive police state's facade are beginning to surface. Despite the restrictions, the educated few still enjoy some advantages under the system. The Hoffmans gather often with family and friends for warm dinner parties rich with derisive political banter, live classical music, and spirited discussions, holding out for a better future. But even as Richard has high hopes and strict demands for studious Christian, he hides a passionate double life and shocking secrets that come back to haunt him. Against this tense climate of fear and mistrust, with the secret police lurking ominously in the background, choices are made and actions taken that have devastating repercussions. Written by
Music Box Films
"Der Turm" is a two-part (3 hours total) television movie by director Christian Schwochow starring Jan Josef Liefers and some other well-known German actors. Schwochow is known for working a lot with his mother on movies, but here he did not. He has worked mostly for cinematic films before that, so this was also new territory for him. The outcome is very solid. I watched his newest film "Lagerfeuer" not too long ago and quality-wise it pretty much the same like "Der Turm". However, I did not really find out why the film is called like that ("The Tower"). Maybe it becomes clearer in the book that this movie is based on.
The movie is about the last years if the GDR and we witness how some characters deal with their lives and the state apparatus. However, there are also some more personal stories about marriage, fatherhood and loyalty. Jan Josef Liefers shines as a character with lots of authority, a successful doctor and perfectionist who won't accept failure, neither at work nor at his job. While he attempts to become his hospital's new director, he also tries to keep his family intact despite having a secret affair and a daughter with another woman. If anything bothered me about him, then maybe that I found his descent into insanity (and out of it) happened way too sudden and very surprisingly. There wasn't much wrong with any of the performances and they also received some nominations and wins at awards shows. Sebastian Urzendowsky, who I am usually not too big on does a decent job here, even if his character once again does not differ too much from what he usually plays. We find out a lot about life at the National People's Army as well and as everything even that is connected with personal fate and interpersonal relationships and drama, not just the gray common procedures in there. And finally, I would like to mention Götz Schubert as well as he gave a very fine performance as well and created a pretty interesting character without really getting the recognition for it in the light of Liefers' showy lead performance.
Yes it is another German movie about the GDR, but even if there have been quite a lot already, that does not mean that this is a bad one. The story is good and I did not really feel it dragged despite its very long duration. Recommended.
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