Monday, December 24, 2007

Movie Recommendation

I received Downfall from Netflix the other day and I watched it last night after the kiddos went to bed.

Downfall is the story of the last days of The Third Reich as told from the viewpoint of Hitler's personal secretary Traudl Junge. The film is based on her book Until the Final Hour, and another called Inside Hitler's Bunker: The Last Days of the Third Reich by Joachim Fest, and was shot entirely in German with English subtitles.

Unlike some other movies which portray Hitler and his Nazi henchmen as monsters, this film portrays them as human beings, just like you and I. The only exception is that these human beings happen to be responsible for starting WWII and slaughtering millions of innocent people. To their credit, at no point do the filmmakers shy away from showing just how brutal and monstrous the principals really are.

As WWII winds down to a close, an ill and increasingly feeble Hitler begins to crack up, ranting at and cursing his generals as incompetent and giving orders to armies which exist only in his mind. At times however he seems almost normal, joking with the help and complimenting the cook on the quality of his supper.

As disturbing as the film is to begin with, based on the subject matter, for me as a father the most disturbing part of the film comes when Magda Goebbels decides it is better to kill six children than to have them live in a world where there is no Third Reich and National Socialism.

Do yourself a favor and rent this DVD.

Rated R for disturbing images, violence and very brief nudity.