Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB.
Original title: Der Untergang
Germany/Italy/Austria, 2004. Constantin Film, Norddeutscher Rundfunk, Westdeutscher Rundfunk, Degeto Film, Osterreichischer Rundfunk, EOS Entertainment, Rai Cinema. Screenplay by Bernd Eichinger, based on the book Der Untergang: Hitler und das Ende des Dritten Reiches by Joachim Fest, and the book Bis Zur Letzten Stunde by Traudl Junge, Melissa Muller. Cinematography by Rainer Klausmann. Produced by Bernd Eichinger. Music by Stephan Zacharias. Production Design by Bernd Lepel. Costume Design by Claudia Bobsin. Film Editing by Hans Funck.
Epic, multi-plotted drama that covers the last days of Hitler’s life before he completely accepted defeat and committed suicide with his wife Ewa Braun. The film is mostly told from the point of view of young secretary Traudl Junge, a girl who shows up full of vim and vigour to work for the Fuhrer she so naively believes in, and gradually watches as the new world she has given so much of herself to creating crumbles to pieces around her. As the Russians approach Berlin and the city looks like it will fall, Hitler becomes more and more irrationally emotional with his men regarding their failure to lead the Third Reich to the grand victory over the world that it was meant to have. Meanwhile, Braun does her best to keep spirits high, standing by her lover (then later, before the final hour, husband) until the very end. An emotionally complex (though not necessarily sympathetic) portrait of the century’s most notorious political figure is definitely not something you usually get out of the films made on this subject, and his character is brought to life exceptionally well in Bruno Ganz‘s powerful performance. Juliane Köhler also excels as Braun, while the supporting cast, especially Alexandra Maria Lara as Junge, does a fantastic job in giving life to Bernd Eichinger’s intelligent screenplay. Make sure you stay long enough to see a videoclip interview with the real-life Junge; it puts the whole film in perspective and is the most impressive part of the entire experience.
Academy Award Nomination: Best Foreign Language Film
European Film Award Nomination: Best European Actor (Bruno Ganz)
Toronto International Film Festival: 2004