Sunday, May 01, 2005

Germanic breast beating

DOWNFALL is a serious picture. But then, of course, it is German. Maybe it is even a good picture. I don't think so, but maybe I am too informed about Hilter, his era and his bunker.

Downfall covers the same territory as THE LAST TEN DAYS or DER LETZTE AKT to use it's IMDB listing. Both movies are heavily based on information given by Traudl Junge, a favorite secretary of Hitler in his burial bunker.

The difference is that The Last Ten Days is a spellbinding piece of drama that uses the arts of cinema to stun, surprise and captivate its audience, while Downfall is satisfied to tell us -- Warning Plot Alert -- don't read further to find out that war is brutal and ugly, Hitler was demented, committed suicide and was content to drag a complicate German population down with him. But where the film should be shocking and moving is is merely cold and predictable.

But then you have not seen The Last Ten Days (not to be confused with the dreary British remake starring Alec Guinness) so maybe Downfall is worth your while. You won't be entertained, but you might become a little better informed about the nature of leaders and power. But better yet, is BLIND SPOT or Im toten Winkel - Hitlers Sekretärin on IMDB, in which the aged Fraulien Junge gives testimony to her years in that Berlin bunker. Her simple re-tellings of the experience are much more powerful that all the sturm and drang and blood and explosions of Dawnfall.


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