Driveby Review [film]: Downfall

Short and sweet is the order of the day, though not the order of this docu-drama about the last days of the Third Reich, and more specifically of Adolf Hitler. Bruno Ganz is a force of nature playing a physically and mentally declining Hitler. The film was based on the book by his secretary, Traudl Jung, and pulls out all of the stops. (I'm really going for cliche here.) It's powerful. Hitler has no compassion for his civilian followers (and he says so, even)...

but he's fully developed as a character in the film (as opposed to being portrayed as a one-sided 'evil' dictator). It's a fascinating look into his mind as well as those of his closest advisors (some of whom become traitors along the way) and is very good drama propelled along by the stress of the Russians closing in on Berlin. Catch it for another day or so at Film Forum in NYC, or rent it when it comes to DVD...though beware, it is a war film and does include some truly horrifying moments.

mark, May 5 2005 11:39AM

What compelled you to see this film? Was it reviewed well elsewhere or did you get a recommendation from a friend?

holling, May 5 2005 2:13PM

Actually, a friend pulled me along to see it. She told me it was going to be depressing, though I didn't find it exactly depressing...not happy, but intense and interesting.