Der Untergang * Oliver Hirschbiegel * 2004

I would (should) have seen tbis film before, but for some reason it took until I could lend a copy. I am no fond of war-films and this one isn’t really an exception. I suppose you all know by now that this film shows the last days of the reign of Hitler. The film is based on the ‘documentary’ (a long interview) with Traudl Junge. From it seems that Junge wrote a book that was the base for this film. Also she is supposed to have appeared in other documentaries, while I understood that she wanted to give one and final interview before she passed away. The interview was shown on TV under the title Im Toten Winkel (which is reviewed), late 2002, half a year after Junge died. In the interview ‘Hitlers Sekretärin’ talks about how she came to join the nazi administration and how she experienced the last period of the reign of Hitler. She claims she didn’t know about the horrors of the outside, because she was ‘im toten Winkel’ (‘in the dead angle’). The interview may be a boring and tiring watch, but I found it much more interesting and informative than “Der Untergang”.
The film opens with Junge’s job interview and then immediately jumps to the last hours of WWII. The story of “Der Untergang” is not entirely based on Junge’s information, because there are also scenes where Junge could never have been present. We mostly see the bunker in which Hitler lives and gives his orders. We see him loosing his mind (if he ever had it!) and how his subjects grow against him. Because Hitler is also shown in ‘normal conditions’ (playing with his dogs, being charming towards his secretary, being with Eva Braun) this film was/is controversial because it shows that Hitler was a mere human being. Indeed he can be funny at times, but in general the film shows him to be the power-driven maniac with no regard for his servants or the German people which he most likely was. Less common are the scenes in which Hitler and Braun get married and shortly after commit suicide. The scene in which Hitler says goodbye to everybody close to him is the only scene which may rise a little bit of emotion with the viewer. Strange to see (shocking even maybe) is the devotion to the man by -for example- mrs. Goebbels who even kills her children because she can’t imagine a world without national-socialism.
Filmographically I didn’t find the film too much. The acting is a bit dull, the filming is (probably on purpose) with a distance (in the meaning of: too neutral). Not too great and again I suggest the interview with Junge for the more informative part.

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