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Yojimbo's Movie Reviews (2324)

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Downfall ( Untergang, Der ) 
"Downfall" by Yojimbo
4/4 stars

Based on true life memoirs of people who were actually there, this starkly gripping depiction of the last days of the third reich can hardly be described as an enjoyable experience. The german people are suffering terrible hardship as the attacking Russian forces reach Berlin while Hitler's cowardly henchmen are attempting to make their escape or plotting the murder/suicides of themselves and their families when faced with the consequences of their monstrous actions. Lynch mobs roam the streets dispensing "justice" against suspected traitors (who in Hitler's deranged eyes seemed to include virtually everyone) and ill-equipped professional german soldiers are ordered to fight to the death in the face of certain defeat. The entire cast of the film are superb, but it is Bruno Ganz's remarkable performance that is the centrepiece of the film. His portrayal of Hitler veering between twitching broken shell and wild-eyed delusional maniac (who even at the end still commanded fanatical belief in him from some of his people) is totally convincing. It is still difficult to fully comprehend what you are seeing even as it happens in front of your eyes and I was left feeling shellshocked at the film's end;.possibly the most important film made about WWII and something everyone simply must see.


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