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Oliver Hirschbiegel

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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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Title: Juno
Directed by: Jason Reitman
Written by: Diablo Cody
Year: 2007

This film is about sixteen-year-old Juno who accidentally becomes pregnant with the child of her best friend. It tells the story about her pregnancy, her will to keep the child and give it away to loving parents who will care for it. However, even though her intentions are good, it soon becomes apparent that life is seldom as easy as that.

Does this sound boring to you? It is not! Behind a fairly menial story hides a brilliant script enacted by at least one brilliant actress (Ellen Page as Juno, who happens to be excessively cute as well). Although the story is not very interesting, it is well worth the time just to listen to the dialogues. The character Juno is a masterpiece in every way, her prompt, often sarcastic lines, always spot on (this is true for several other characters as well, but is most prominent and Juno).

In another film, this has the potential to earn five snails, but since a film consists of more than just dialogue, I will not go as far as to give Juno such a grade. Instead, I settle for four snails, but with the added reminder that four on my scale means that you ought to check out this film. The likelihood is that you will like it even more than I did, especially if you find the story more entertaining than I did.

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