Review: Downfall (2004)

Downfall is the powerful story of the last 10 days of the Third Reich told from the perspective of Traudl Junge (Alexandra Maria Lara), Hitler’s stenographer.

It is an intense film that is engrossing until the last moments. Although we know true extent of Hitler’s actions, Downfall makes the dictator and his comrades seem human, which is the film’s purpose. The Nazis were not monsters; they were human beings, just like you and me. There is an uncomparable amount of realism that makes you forget you are watching a fictional film. It is Bruno Ganz’s mesmerizing and history-making performance, the powerful supporting cast, and the story itself that make this film worth seeing.

Using Junge’s memoir’s as a guide, director Oliver Hirshbiegel recreates the last days in Hitler’s bunker and of the Third Reich. Bruno Ganz gives a startling portrayal of Hitler. As the fall of Berlin is more imminent, he refuses to accept to accept Germnay’s failure. He becomes weak, brash, and shaky. Stories outside the bunker are told: a young boy fighting for Hitler’s youth; a doctor refusing to leave Berlin; the plight of Berlin’s stranded civlians; and the tales of Hitler’s generals and advisors.

Updated October 10, 2010

2 thoughts on “Review: Downfall (2004)”

  1. I just watched this film for the first time this weekend. Very powerful. I found some of the images shocking. Like what the Goebbels mom did to her kids…

    great review – I’ll be back for more.

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