Bil’s rating (out of 5): BB.
United Kingdom/France/Germany, 2016. X-Filme Creative Pool, Master Movies, FilmWave, Pathe, Buffalo Films, Alone in Berlin, WS Film, Lipsync Productions, Canal+. Screenplay by Achim von Borries, Vincent Perez, collaboration with Bettine von Borries, based on the novel by Hans Fallada. Cinematography by Christophe Beaucarne. Produced by Stefan Arndt, Christian Grass, Marco Pacchioni, James Schamus, Uwe Schott, Paul Trijbits. Music by Alexandre Desplat. Production Design by Jean-Vincent Puzos. Costume Design by Nicole Fischnaller. Film Editing by Francois Gedigier. Berlin Film Festival 2016.
After losing their son in battle, a Berlin couple decide that Nazi ideology is not worth believing in if the cost is to be so high. He (Brendan Gleeson) continues his work as a carpenter and she (Emma Thompson) maintains her position with her league of women, spreading the good word about the Fuhrer around the city, but secretly they begin a smear campaign of leaving cards around the city with slogans and statements speaking out against Hitler and his party. A low ranking policeman (Daniel Brühl) is commissioned with the task of discovering the culprits, eventually at his own peril, while the couple at the centre feel themselves descending more into helplessness as their lonely sorrow for their son goes nowhere with their efforts. An interesting tale of resistance from within is made powerless by uncommitted direction from Vincent Perez and a very brief and basic treatment of both the main couple and the law man pursuing them. We hardly to get to know these two, it would be nice to know something about their involvement in their country’s politics before turning their backs on it, and we don’t really get a sense of who they are as people after they begin their subversion. Family tragedy is an understandable reason to turn against the evil regime running your country, but do you actually care about anything moral or are you just mad? The film has surprisingly little effect and, thanks to being mostly dowdy and having barely any humour (a waste of Thompson’s talents if ever there was one), has little humanity as a result.