Balloon (2018) Poster

(2018)

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7/10
Wunderbar!
FrenchEddieFelson15 April 2019
This film is based on a true story and recounts an evasion attempt, from GDR to FRG, in 1979 during the Cold War, with two families ballooning over a heavily guarded area, starting from Pößneck, a small town within Thuringia, knowing that the shortest distance as the crow flies to reach Bavaria and the Western Bloc is about 25 km. We may see this movie as a commemoration of the manifold unsuccessful attempts and also, in slight advance, of the 30 years of the fall of the Berlin Wall (1989) and the German reunification (1990).

It's well played, suspenseful and points up two main issues: 1) The secret preparation of such an expedition, in a country which is supposed to be a republic if one refers naively to the acronym GDR, and which turns out to be a dictatorship controlling every gesture and every word, thanks to the Stasi. 2) Leaving those who are not part of the expedition and who stay in the GDR such as grandparents or friends, in order to start a new life, ex nihilo. Otherwise, even though it might be a part of the same true story, the episode of the cigarette pack and the American embassy is too showy and, in my humble opinion, pollutes the film.

Finally, despite a decade studying German, from college to the end of my studies, I am not sensitive enough to the subtleties of variations of accents between the different Länder, contrary to sh_bronstein, in his review dating from November 2018. Although his rating is harsh, I find that his review is relevant but does not concern me. Fortunately somehow.
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10/10
Masterpiece
marcocestone26 December 2018
Great Actors, thrilling action, phantastic film music. Director Michael Herbig finds the right tonality to tell this true story. Must See!
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8/10
Well told story
hugovanspaandonk14 April 2019
I don't understand the bad reviews. This movie is really worth watching . Well buildup and overall performance.
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8/10
Mitreissend !
marctronic11 March 2019
Wahnsinn, was manche Menschen zu Leisten imstande sind.
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8/10
Must see
cathyokeeffe30 April 2019
Absolutely stunning in all aspects. The courage of the people who undertook this task is breathtaking.
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10/10
True Story
wiesenweich18 March 2019
Eciting from the first Minute til to the end. Great moving Camera, that is engrossing. Impressed and based on a True Story. Powerfull Soudtrack recorded by a real Orchestra. Bully Herbig new Genre Thrill is perhaps the best Movie that he made .I can only recommend.....and support that...
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7/10
Up in the air
rubenm12 May 2019
'Why do we bother guarding the border? Wouldn't we be better off without those traitors?' This question by a Stasi-official pinpoints the paradox of communism: if a system without freedom would be better than a free society, why would citizens escape this system? The German film 'Ballon' doesn't elaborate on the pros and cons of political systems. Instead, it is a thriller filled with suspense, about two families trying to cross the border between East and West in a home made hot air balloon. The thriller-element is far more important than the political side of the story. The director doesn's shy away from classic Hollywood screenwriting clichés. But he gets away with it. I was gripped by the story, although it's clear that it's made more exciting than it was in reality. The excellent wikipedia-entry 'East German balloon escape' is interesting reading material for those who want to compare the film with reality. Besides being a fine thriller, 'Ballon' also shows very well the effects authoritarian societies have on its citizens. They risk their own lives and those of their young children, in order to stop living in a big lie. Many films have shown the gruesome aspects of East German communism, but once again I was amazed by the cruelty of people oppressing each other.
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8/10
Ballon - for freedom
jasonleetbr7 May 2019
Warning: Spoilers
Life is dear, love is dearer. Both can be given up for freedom. A film that isn't adapted from the inspirational real events, it's not inferior to "the Shawshank Redemption". The whole story is a plan to run away from DDR. With a ghostly soundtrack, it create a tense and suffocating atmosphere. The dictatorship of the East German Government has given birth to such a different kind of escape. The final ending is very touching.
  • for freedom
  • für Freiheit
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9/10
Exciting staged and true story. It is worth it ..
hxr-8444127 April 2019
The change from Herbig was worthwhile. You can hardly breathe in the 2 hours of the movie. A brilliant German actor ensemble gives itself the honor. Among others, Thomas Kretschmann, who brilliantly plays the diabolical Stasi lieutenant colonel. Figures with which one can identify oneself exist on both sides. However, it seems completely exaggerated that an IM could be on every corner. In Berlin in front of the hotel and the embassy for sure. But in a small village? However, it is credible that even a deaf party member wants to see West TV. But one immediately thinks of a trap. Likewise, one should be careful with jokes about the party chairman. I am looking forward to more "serious" films by Herbig.
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4/10
They go for greatness, they don't come close at all
Horst_In_Translation5 November 2018
Warning: Spoilers
"Ballon" is a new 2018 movie from Germany and probably one of the most talked-about films of the year from my country. This film did receive additional boost because it was directed by Michael Bully Herbig, very well known here in Germany as a filmmaker, and he is also part of the writing staff. Most people think of his comedies when hearing the name Herbig, but here he enters the drama genre for once and I heard he plans to stay there. I don't know if it is the right choice. i think the rating is far too high and the other reviewer is correct that this is really not a good movie. It runs for pretty much exactly two hours and tells the story of a family who plans to escape from the GDR to West Germany with the help of a gigantic balloon. It is never an engaging thriller in my opinion. It all feels false and for the sake of it with one scene following the next where they try to show us how close they are to getting caught and how risky their endeavor is. But yeah, maybe it is partially subjective, but it feels like drama for the sake of drama and the story deserves way better. It almost feels like one of these pseudo-important Prosieben blockbuster films in my opinion (fittingly with Herbig's roots). And there is some cringe to it too. Like when they play some board game and one character says "go to jail". Or earlier when one characters asks where he is escaping to this summer with a reference to their flight, but all he meant was escaping to which country for the holidays away from the stress. So yeah, it is neither very witty nor very creative and there's tons of these moments. Also how close they come in their first attempt or when they actually succeed and the balloon is touching some electricity cable or that they will not make it early on again. Or that they are not getting enough material to make the balloon etc. It never felt like authentic drama. Or the scene with the "askking for help" note near the American embassy or so when the boy acts all weird to save the situation. Yep the exact boy who messes everything up almost at the very end when telling the girl he likes that they are leaving and if she wants to go with them. No teenage love does not explain this garbage story line. i would not say Bully is the problem here. His direction is solid for sure, but the script is really important. Kinda fitting that one of very few decent moments is near the end when tehy succeeded (of course) and the Franconians they meet tell them funnily they are not in the West, probably because the film really has no right to take itself seriously the way it does. Not at all. Another okay moment was the nurse who finds out from the child about the plans and how she reacts to it when questioned by the officers. Other than that it is mediocre popcorn cinema, but it is nowhere near being one of Germany's best films of the year, probably not even best films on the subject of the GDR of the year 2018 to be honest. It is true that they made so many films about the era and yes there are still coming new ones that are very much worth seeing. This is not one of them. Schuch's and Kusche's stunning looks cannot save the day here at all. And I am not a great fan of Mücke either. The way he seems to channel Bully's acting and line delivery is partially tough to watch in the first half. A thumbs-up to Kross though who wasn't as bad as I expected and to Kretschmann who was a formidable main antagonist at times, perhaps the best thing of the film and a true scene stealer occasionally. But yeah, the story kills all the film's hopes really. It wants to be great, it ends up as extremely mediocre and that is still a generous description. Watch something else instead and I am not sold at all by Bully as an influential drama film director, certainly not after this very flawed outcome we got here.
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2/10
Disappointing adaptation of a fascinating true story
sh_bronstein4 November 2018
The premise is thrilling: people trying to flee a dictatorship with a hot-air balloon they make themselves... in secret. This story is actually a true story that took place in Thuringia, a part of the German Democratic Republic (communist East Germany). The movie is, unfortunately, an ironed-out piece of story-telling with added corny clichés that made some of the people in the movie theater laugh - even though the story is dead-serious! This is bad! Yes, it is very bad. The acting is so card-board like, it is impossible to take the actors seriously. Even if the story is set in Thuringia, a region where people speak German with a very distinct accent, the actors don't even try speaking with this accent for the sake of credibility (Imagine a movie set in Alabama in the US South in which all actors speak like New Yorkers - that is how misplaced the actors' accent is!). The script writer added a laughable romantic subplot to the story that was truly unnecessary. The film's music is full of pathos and emotion, so much of it that it becomes ludicrous. It is sad to see an exciting real-life story so badly adapted to the screen.
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5/10
Original motion picture
jan-van-ende16 May 2019
Watch thé original ... John Hurt ...1982 ... Night crossing
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9/10
Great story
jarcopenning1 August 2019
Just got back from the cinema. I did not read anything before entering the screen.

I found the movie to be very exciting, containing beautiful photography and it shows the most beautiful unplastified actress I've seen in years. You may guess afterwards which lady I refer to.

Anyway, the story is real, yes some dramatization, yes some extra love story and yes, critics can easily find some things to tear the picture down. How often have critics created something themselves in their lives?

If you want to enjoy a fantastic timeless real story about courage, creativity and brotherhood, go and see this movie. After all, cinema is entertainment.
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10/10
Nice
adrianmierzwa8 July 2019
Warning: Spoilers
Dramatische Geschichte Sehr gut umgesetzt, tolle Darsteller.
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