It's been a while since I saw "Downfall" (August) so bear with me as my review will not be as detailed as it should be...
"Downfall" is one of the best movies of the year, but unfortunately I cannot place it in my Top Ten for 2005, which has otherwise been a most dreadful year, because the film is actually a 2004 Oscar-nominated foreign picture. The film takes a look at Adolf Hitler in the last days of his life, as he deals with stress, betrayal, loss and death. The movie by no means paints him in a positive light, but at the same time presents him as more than just an evil villain. Even Hitler had a family and relationships, and "Downfall" shows such things.
Told partially from the perspective of his secretary, Traudl Junge (the beautiful Alexandra Maria Lara), "Downfall" is an explosive and riveting foreign film that is intriguing, sad and ultimately powerful. From optimism to reluctant acceptance of defeat, we get to watch as Hitler is destroyed from the inside before he took his own life. His "friends" and comrades abandon him as the end grows near, and things especially take a toll when he hears of units surrendering to the Allies. The last half hour or so is very strong as many of the characters take their own lives.
Little else can be said other than that "Downfall" is one of the most impressive movies in years. From the acting to writing to directing, the movie is spellbinding, and the fact that it is in a foreign language is in afterthought.
If you are interested in the subject of World War II, "Downfall" is a must see.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.
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