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Overall Rating
4.68

Awesome81.32%
Worth A Look: 13.19%
Average: 1.1%
Pretty Bad: 1.1%
Total Crap: 3.3%

4 reviews, 67 user ratings



Downfall
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by Peter Sobczynski

"A stunning look at the final days of the Final Solution"
5 stars

Every decade or so, it seems, some filmmaker gets it in their head to give viewers a movie following the last days of Adolph Hitler as he hides out in his bunker as his Master Race crumbles under the weight of opposing armies coming to liberate Europe. However, the new film “Downfall” adds a couple of wrinkles to the genre that set it apart from other entries. The first is the fact that it is a German-made film, which automatically makes it something of interest. The other is that instead of depicting Hitler solely as a screaming, deranged monster going down in flames as loudly as possible, “Downfall” dares to give us a depiction of Hitler that shows him in more subtle and human terms. There are the fanatical orders, of course, but the Hitler here is a man who knows that he has been defeated and is crushed to find his dreams of glory blowing up in his face. Instead of strutting and shouting, he limps about morosely and speaks most of his lines in a hushed, halting whisper. (Think of it–in all the newsreel footage and recordings of the man, have you ever once heard him speak in his indoor voice?)

Because of this approach, both the film and director Oliver Hirschbiegel have been charged in some corners with the accusation that by depicting Hitler in such a way, they are somehow sympathizing with him. This couldn’t be farther from the truth and such an accusation is most likely the kind of wild shot taken by those who haven’t actually seen the film. There is no minimizing the horror of what Hitler and his fanatical followers did, even in the face of certain defeat (the sequence in which Magda Goebbels calmly poisons her children to “spare” them from living in a world without National Socialism is one of the creepiest things I have ever seen), but by depicting him as just a man, his presence has more of an impact here than it has had in most recent movies on the subject. By reminding us of his essentially ordinary nature, Hirschbiegel (aided by the stunning performance by a virtually unrecognizable Bruno Ganz) points out that if one regular person could flip so completely to the dark side, who is to say that it couldn’t happen again?

Beyond the portrayal of Hitler himself, “Downfall” (which was nominated for this years Best Foreign Film Oscar) doesn’t really bring anything new to the table except for its epic size and obsessive attention to detail; for the first time in a non-documentary film, it genuinely feels as if someone happened to bring a camera into the bunker to depict the final days of the Final Solution. The level of detail is so great, in fact, that it may simply prove to be too much for most viewers. For those who can stomach such stuff, “Downfall” should be a revelation for even the biggest WW II buff.

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=10634&reviewer=389
originally posted: 03/12/05 01:03:45
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OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2004 Toronto Film Festival. For more in the 2004 Toronto Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2005 Palm Springs Film Festival. For more in the 2005 Palm Springs Film Festival series, click here.

User Comments

4/27/16 Ken Very well done movie from Germany. 5 stars
4/13/15 Trev29 better tittle is DOWN TRASH 1 stars
4/13/15 jokerass lol 1 stars
4/13/15 jokerass LOL this movie 2 stars
1/18/15 PAUL SHORTT INSTRUCTIVE, ENGROSSING STUDY OF THE CRUMPLE OF AN INDIVIDUAL AND AN IDEOLOGY 5 stars
1/09/15 michael overrated piece of crap 1 stars
10/01/12 scott maxwell a good movie 4 stars
4/04/12 Marty Drags on a bit, but some very eerie scenes here. stark look at nazism 4 stars
5/08/10 millersxing My favorite WWII film because it tells the unspeakable story without artifice. 5 stars
2/12/10 R.W.Welch Grim, realistic account of the Reich's last days. Remarkable recreation of the time. B+ 4 stars
2/26/08 pkr quite mediocre and over-beautified story of last days of adolf. 3 stars
2/10/08 Mark Excellent filmmaking, fantastic cast! 5 stars
1/10/08 V Incredible, especially Ganz 5 stars
11/16/06 David A towering achievement. 5 stars
11/04/06 AP Astonishing acting by Bruno Ganz and an incredible movie experience. 5 stars
10/04/06 dickie t best film I've seen this year 5 stars
6/19/06 John Kiene A truely great work of film production in every way, outstanding 5 stars
6/13/06 Luis Morales Hard to find fault with the content and the acting. 5 stars
5/19/06 chienne Yes, a creepy, yet compelling film. Brilliant. 5 stars
5/12/06 SpyV Facinating, horrifying. Required viewing. 5 stars
4/16/06 CPT Hoolie Stunning. Incredible performance by Bruno Ganz 5 stars
12/20/05 rk best movie I saw on DVD in 2005; an unexpected gem; highly recommneded 5 stars
10/08/05 ElizabethQ Exelent movie! Very real,well plaied 5 stars
9/22/05 Phil M. Aficionado Strong is the best word ... strong in every way. Still astonishing after all these years. 5 stars
9/16/05 tatum Straightforward telling with phenomenal acting 5 stars
8/23/05 Ole Man Bourbon A somewhat interesting historical hypothetical, may take some liberties to glorify chars 4 stars
6/25/05 Mark Holmes Fabulous 5 stars
6/16/05 adrian ace love nazi wwII movies and this is one of the best 5 stars
6/15/05 Dave Fan-Dabby-Doby 5 stars
6/13/05 Monster W. Kung Extremely well done. 4 stars
6/12/05 matthew smith a powerful history lesson 5 stars
5/23/05 Dom Tough, but watch it 5 stars
5/23/05 Green Gremlin The best German war movie since "Das Boot". 5 stars
5/12/05 Beardog8 Great performances everywhere 5 stars
5/06/05 MR Peabody Superb! 5 stars
4/27/05 Elizabeth S Excellent! 5 stars
4/24/05 Henry Hopton Truly excellent. An outstanding representation which is horrifically real. 5 stars
4/24/05 John Bale Devastatingly realistic, Ganz's Hitler given depth by outstanding performance 5 stars
4/24/05 Arnold An epic film. As a history enthusiast, I am of the opinion that this is (by far) the best t 5 stars
4/21/05 Graham Just-the-facts approach to a touchy subject, and all the better for it. 4 stars
4/14/05 Frenzy bad 4 stars
3/25/05 craig varney this movie has no downfall 4 stars
3/13/05 Mark Fulwiler an outstanding achievement 5 stars
3/12/05 Mussolini It should have been me!! 5 stars
3/07/05 John stunning performances in a great film 5 stars
3/02/05 Littlepurch Horrifying,disturbing,yet utterly brilliant.Couldn't lk away,much as I sumtimes wanted to. 5 stars
2/01/05 Matti Söderberg Really stunning performance by Ganz. Third Reich inside a single bunker. 5 stars
1/15/05 pramod good 4 stars
1/12/05 Irene Heller Incredible. Thought-provoking, informative. Ganz' acting superb. Should be seen . 5 stars
1/11/05 Declan Crean Best film i've seen in years.Hard but brillant 5 stars
12/10/04 Ralph Jas Incredibly gripping film. A brave attempt indeed, and a triumph in every conceivable way. 5 stars
12/04/04 Harvey Flinder A staggering achievement. On every level this gets 10 / 10. See it 5 stars
12/02/04 Nick deecee "Blows you away! One of the best historical films of all time!!" 5 stars
11/09/04 Silke Stunning Movie 5 stars
10/26/04 Judith Absolutely stunning performance and still as fact-based as can be, not a Hollywood epic 5 stars
10/25/04 tom A very realistic depiction of Hitler without the "Hitler is bad" propaganda of Hollywood 5 stars
10/25/04 Flupptrack One of the best movies about WWII ever made 5 stars
10/09/04 Andy I'm only 17 and it gave me an insight into life 60 years ago. Horrible but fascinating!!! 5 stars
10/05/04 Jafet Israel Lara This is the best film about HItler´s life (the last 12 days). Bruno Ganz is perfect. 4 stars
10/04/04 Solidus68 He asked them to kill, and they obeyed. Watch the movie and you'll understand why. 5 stars
10/04/04 Jonathan Skeet Difficult to watch... 4 stars
9/30/04 zuckuss13@aol.com Brilliant film, amazing acting. Had to come to Berlin to see it. 5 stars
9/24/04 Mike Strange to see Hitler portrayed in this way. Very worthwhile watching! 4 stars
9/23/04 Kjelt A perfect movie with a stunning performance by Bruno Ganz. 5 stars
9/22/04 mr kotwurst one of the best german movies of all times. 5 stars
9/18/04 Martin Superbly acted and authoritatively realistic.An experience that will haunt you for days. 5 stars
9/17/04 Richard Lush A brilliant lesson for today. 5 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  18-Feb-2005 (R)
  DVD: 02-Aug-2005

UK
  N/A

Australia
  21-Apr-2005




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