Set in Berlin, 1945, this powerful and provocative war drama retells the final days of the Second World War as recorded in the diaries of Adolf Hitler's private secretary, Traudl Junge, while barricaded with Hitler and his closest confidants in the Fuhrer's secret bunker. Directed by Oliver Hirschbiegel with an astonishing performance by Bruno Ganz as history's most notorious figure, this unprecedented and controversial insider's perspective is a gripping insight into the madness and desperation of Hitler in the final hours of the war as the Russian Army closes a ring around Berlin.
Bruno Ganz is simply brilliant in the role of "Mein Fuhrer". I have read reports that a large chunk of the German population was concerned that this film portrays Hitler in a personal light and in a manner that he becomes far too much an object of sympathy. I did not experience that although I do feel that I got into the heads of the few, during the last hours in the bunker.
Downfall is an amazing and powerful piece of cinema that will leave a lasting impression. Clearly one of the most important European films of recent times, it is a frank and disturbing exposé of the final ten days of the Nazi regime. We see a different side to Hitler than what has been shown previously, yet you do not feel pity for the character. This is a film that only Germans could have made about the final few days of what has become a blight on their history. Downfall also marked Oliver Hirschbiegel as a director worth following, and Bruno Ganz will never surpass his performance here.
Powerful and enjoyable
- Downfall review by Pete W
(3) of (4) members found this review helpful.
You rated this film: 5
Bruno Ganz's portrayal of Hitler should have won him an Oscar. A lengthy film but it doesn't drag (even though you know the ending!). The scene where Magda Goebbels slaughters her children is appalling - in the true sense of the word, as it should be. Don't be put off by the fact that the film is in German and subtitled - but it helps if you understand a bit of German. Special mention of the DTS soundtrack - the first Russian shell to fall on the bunker nearly blew my front room windows out.