Movie Review: Der Untergang

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Der Untergang (The Downfall) is a best foreign film nominee for the Oscars coming from the German cinemas. This Oliver Hirschiegel film is a Non-fiction historical drama based on the book by Traudl Junge, the final secretary to the High Chancellor of Germany, Adolf Hitler.

The movie opens up with a group of five girls sitting in a waiting room with concrete walls and simple furnishings. They are being briefed about how to properly speak and address their possible new boss as he interviews them. The movie has not yet given away who the employer is. The next person up for the interview is a young teenage Berliner, Traudl Junge (Alexandra Maria Lara). As she stands up and enters the office we see only the sliver of a person through the crack of the door identifiable immediately by his toothbrush mustache: Adolf Hitler (Bruno Ganz). The movie is set at the end of WWII the final days of the Third Reich in Hitler’s Bunker. The movie continuously shows Hitler’s decline in health in a matter of days and his increased madness as he continuously proclaims to the German people he will win the war even though the Russians are but kilometers away from the capital. The odd thing of the movie is you find yourself crying not for the victims but for the people Hitler is able to drag to hell with him through manipulation.

We meet Gobles (Harald Quant) who we have always seen as the Angel of Death for the SS of the Nazi Party, yet the movie is able to twist our thoughts into having sympathy for a man with a vision and a family. The saddest part of the movie is, for fear of the rape of his children by the Soviets the whole family sings one last song together as they have done every night before every bedtime and all together drink a poison and sleep together in one room in the dark bunker. His wife tucks them all in and tells them a story of how life would have been if the Furor had succeeded. She describes the lush hills of Germany that would have been, it brings one’s emotions...
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