[chinese blood, irish heart] - DEFUNCT: 'Downfall'

Monday, April 18, 2005


A film about the downward spiral of a leader and its nation.

What a film that was.. truly one of the best world war two films to date.
There hasn't been a lot of German made films about this era, the other noticable film was Das Boot by Wolfgang Peterson. Downfall chronicles the cataclysmic events of 1945 and the destruction of Nazi Germany. Focusing primarly of course on Adolph Hitler played superbly by Bruno Ganz, we witness a man's descent into insanity and genuine human loss. His performance is breathtaking and what a role to act. I couldn't imagine his audition process!
It is really refreshing to see a world war two film from the German perspective. All too often WW2 films portray the Germans as cold inhumane killers, but they're human too, they're just like other soldiers. I felt tremendous compassion for the German soldiers defending their homeland against the Russian onslaught (there were no Americans or British). Despite the gigantic odds stacked against the German defenders, we imagine a scenario where someone comes to the rescue and repels the invaders, such as the case in many war films. But we know this'll not happen and there's not going to be a happy ending. I cringed during the end sequences, wishing it'll all stop but such was the fate of Hitler and his empire.
Even if you don't have any remote interest in World War 2 or Hitler, this film will still blow you away. In all fairness, the fall of Nazi Germany is a pinnacle event in 20th Century history and it has to be seen: no other film has portrayed these series of events better, be it from the streets of shattered Berlin or from the cold sterile depths of Hitler's bunker. A must see.