Tuesday, 22 February 2011

Der Untergang - Downfall

2004 by Oliver Hirschbiegel

Russian army is only about 12 Kilometers away from Berlin and almost everybody around Hitler is sure that Berlin will be captured. All his loyal men are wondering what to do next, to leave Berlin to save themselves or to fight until death or to convince Hitler to leave Berlin or even just suicide as the last resort. Hitler in the mean time realises that most of his generals were cowards and havent listened to him and have acted against his orders which has paved way to losing the battle. He is full of confidence one moment and is depressed the next. More and more news arrives about the cowardice of his generals and also about some valiant generals and soldiers. Inspite of all the pressure by some of his generals, Hitler is adament he will not leave Berlin, for he does not want people to curse him finally. At the same time he also says that evacuation of Berlin is not possible and people deserves what they are facing now. Eva his girl friend seems to be enjoying these moments and is adament she will not escape, so are some secretaries of his, who finds all these happenings so unreal. Hitler marries Eva and announces that they will commit suicide and orders his body guard to make sure that the enemy do not even find their bodies. His loyal servants burns their bodies afterwards. Once defeat is confirmed many of his loyal generals too commit suicide. Traudl Junge, his young secretary manages to pass through the Russian army and escapes Berlin. The movie is an account of her experiences.

This is a brilliant movie. It is so well taken that inspite of being the story of the most hated monarch, it still has many moments that will touch you. The Cinematography is more than brilliant, it can serve as a lesson on how to capture the mood of a theme, without ever making the viewer think about the camera, inspite of having a lot of action around.

Bruno Ganz lives as Hitler. What a performance. He looks fearful and even attracts our pity in some scenes. The scene where he listens to the song by his ministers children, followed by his discussion with Eva and secretaries how to commit a painless suicide, and his last good bye to his close assists were simply excellent.

Alexandra Maria Lara, my favourite German actress has also done well as Traudl.

Finally may I say, this is purely a directors movie. Excellent movie, a master piece.