6.4/10
5,159
34 user 74 critic

Alone in Berlin (2016)

R | | Drama | 13 January 2017 (USA)
Trailer
2:15 | Trailer

Watch Now

From $9.99 (SD) on Prime Video

After a Nazi German working class couple loses their son in World War II, they decide to retaliate by secretly leafletting handwritten cards in Berlin denouncing their government.

Director:

Writers:

(screenplay), (screenplay) | 2 more credits »
2 nominations. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

Edit

Cast

Credited cast:
... Escherich
... Anna Quangel
... Otto Quangel
... SS Officer Prall
... Hans Quangel
... Claire Gehrich
Jacob Matschenz ... Dietrich Necker
Lars Rudolph ... Enno Kluge
... Colonel Krüger
... August Persicke
Ernst Stötzner ... Dptm. Head Walter
... Secretary
Holger Handtke ... Dollfuss
... Persicke
... Salesman Franz Kanz
Edit

Storyline

In 1940, German soldier Hans Quangel is killed in action during the French campaign. His parents, Otto and Anna, are devastated by the loss and their bereavement is unmollified by the joyful hysteria at Germany's victory. Deciding that Fuhrer Adolf Hitler and his Nazi regime are responsible for this tragedy and much more, Otto cannot stand by any longer. As such, Otto begins to create handwritten cards denouncing the regime's abuses and lies, which he secretly deposits throughout Berlin while a disillusioned Anna insists on helping him. As the subversive cards pile up over the years, police detective Escherich is tasked to track down the leafleteer while being pressured by his increasingly impatient SS superior for an arrest for this "treason," regardless of actual guilt. As the stakes rise even as Nazi Germany's day of reckoning approaches, Otto and Anna are determined to spread the truth regardless of the odds even as their opposition awaits the fatal mistake that could doom them. Written by Kenneth Chisholm (kchishol@rogers.com)

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

In the heart of terror, they resist everyday life. See more »

Genres:

Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for brief violence | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
Edit

Details

Country:

| |

Language:

Release Date:

13 January 2017 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Cartas de Berlín  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Company Credits

Show more on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Based on the novel "Jeder stirbt für sich allein" (Every Man Dies Alone) by Hans Fallada. The novel itself is allegedly based on actual Gestapo files that Fallada was given access to. See more »

Quotes

Escherich: It's a man whose no longer young. Who lost his only son in the French campaign. Inexperienced at writing; but, intelligent. The style has visibly changed during the course of the year. In recent months he has used the title: Free Press.
See more »

Connections

Version of Jeder stirbt für sich allein (1976) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
Small Rebellions.
5 July 2017 | by See all my reviews

Once again, World War II turns up another true story of quiet valour to turn into a motion picture. At a time when Trump is pontificating about so called "fake news", here is a timely tale from history which centres on the battle against genuinely fake news: the Nazi propaganda machine.

After losing their only son in the French campaign, Berliners Otto (Brendan Gleeson,"Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire") and Anna (Emma Thompson, "Saving Mr Banks") turn against the regime and in repeated acts of rebellion Otto laboriously hand writes subversive postcards to leave in office blocks around Berlin.

Out to catch him is local police investigator Escherich (Daniel Brühl) but in an age before CCTV that's no easy task and with increasing SS pressure the stakes for Escherich steadily increase. For Otto and Anna, the stress is there but both are resigned to their fate: with their son stolen from them for an unjust cause they are an island of indifference in an unholy land. Both are 'alone in Berlin?

After 70 years it still chills the blood to see German locations decked out in Nazi regalia, but one of the joys of this film is this rendering of life in wartime Berlin: starting with jubilation at German progress prior to D-Day and turning to despair and genuine danger as the tide turns towards 1945. In a pretty bleak film there are touches of black comedy now and then: Otto's carpentry company is being encouraged "by the Fuhrer" to double and triple their output… of coffins.

More joy comes from the star turns of Gleeson and Thompson, both of who deliver on their emotionally challenging roles. Gleeson in particular makes a very believable German with a sour demeanour and a steely determination. But the star acting turn for me goes to the wonderful Daniel Brühl ("Rush") as the tormented police detective, bullied into an ethical corner by the SS. The finale of the film – whilst not seeming quite believable – makes for a nicely unexpected twist.

Based on a novel by Hans Fallada, the lead writing credits for the piece are shared between Achim von Borries and the director Vincent Perez – in a rare directorial outing for the Swiss actor. The script exudes a melancholic gloom and at times expresses beautifully both the grief and love shared by this older couple. But some of the dialogue needs more work and we don't see enough of Thompson in the early part of the film where her motivations should be being developed. This rather comes down to a lack of focus by the director. While the primary story of the card distribution is slight, it is compelling and a detour into a sub-story about an old Jewish lodger living upstairs is unnecessary and detracts from the overall story arc. I would have far preferred if the running time had been a tight 90 minutes just focused on Otto's mission. One final comment on the script: did I mishear that Anna claimed to have a 6 year old child during an air raid scene? I know Emma Thompson looks great for her age, but….

I can't finish this without commending the beautiful piano score of Alexandre Desplat. From the first note I knew it was him – he has such a characteristic style – and his clever use of the score complements the film exquisitely. "Small" films like this tend to rather disappear into the woodwork for Oscar consideration, but here's a soundtrack that I think should be considered: (but what do I know… when "Nocturnal Animals" wasn't even nominated in one of the Oscar crimes of the century!).

In summary, I found this a thoughtful and thought-provoking film, that – despite some of the mean reviews I've seen – I thought was well crafted and with excellent production design by Jean-Vincent Puzos ("Amour"). It will be particularly appreciated by older audiences looking for an untold story from the war, and by all lovers of fine acting performances by the three leads.

(For the full graphical review please visit http://bob-the-movie-man.com. Thanks!).


11 of 14 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 34 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

Stream Action and Adventure Titles With Prime Video

Explore popular action and adventure titles available to stream with Prime Video.

Start your free trial



Recently Viewed