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Der Untergang (The Downfall)



Title: The Downfall
Original title: Der Untergang
Directed by: Oliver Hirschbiegel
Written by: Bernd Eichinger, Joachim C Fest
Year: 2004

I think the first thought in everybody’s minds is: do we need yet another world-war-two film? Yes, we do! At least if it is like this one. Although set in the last couple of days during the Battle of Berlin, this is not really war film, since it does not focus on the fighting itself. Instead, it puts emphasis on the drama of the last days in Hitler’s bunker, the interplay between Hitler and those closest to him, military or otherwise.
Suspension of disbelief is the cornerstone for Der Untergang. Everything is expertly made, from acting to scenery and directing. It does not feel like a film about the last days of the Third Reich, it feels like a film actually filmed in 1945 Berlin. In particular, Bruno Ganz enactment of Hitler is brilliant, and although I have of course few clues to its actual accuracy, it feels very real.

So, yes, there are still films set in the Second World War worthwhile to produce. Der Untergang was one of them. Although there are other films from the German perspective, this is the best I have seen. Although it is a bit long, I can recommend it to anyone who is in the least interested, even if you do not like war films in general. I do not, as it happens, but I liked Der Untergang.

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