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gideon43's Movie Reviews (156)

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Sophie Scholl - Die letzten Tage 
The sun is still shining!
3/4 stars

This movie is a historical recreation of the last days of Sophie Scholl, a member of a non violent German resistance movement during the Second World War.
After the German army suffered heavy losses at the battle of Stalingrad, a small number of University students appalled with the stories of Nazi atrocities that were filtering through to them set up an anti war group called the White Rose.
In and around Munich University, a campaign is Spearheaded by the students as they organise leaflet handouts and daub graffiti over government buildings attacking Hitler and his policies.
After a leaflet drop in the main square of the University, Sophie and her brother Hans are spotted by the janitor and are subsequently arrested by the Gestapo.
After a period of interrogation and cross examining, Sophie, Hans and their friend Christoph Probst are charged with high treason, troop demoralization and aiding the enemy.
They are sentenced to death and are executed by guillotine only six days after their arrest.
German Cinema continues to reach deep into its soul in examining and questioning the actions of the Nazis during the second World War.
Following on from the utterly stunning "Downfall", Sophie Scholl offers a realistic and convincing backdrop of ordinary people in extraordinary circumstances anchored by a truly unforgettable performance by Julia Jentish (bearing a remarkable resemblance to the American Actress Claire Danes) as Sophie.
As the opening scenes play out like a first rate espionage romp, the movie soon turns into a courtroom thriller and Jentish finds the perfect pitch along with the rest of the cast.
Alexander Held as Sophie's interrogating officer who is subtlety forced to re-examine his beliefs has the other standout performance.
The director Marc Rothemund meticulously recreates the era working from long buried historical records, many of the protagonists are depicted as flawed individuals and only the President of the peoples Court, Roland Freisler comes across as a stereotypical fanatical Nazi . This is a straightforward tale of heroism and bravery, there are no fancy camera angles or gimmicky editing and the audience are subjected to a matter of fact re-telling from one of the darkest periods of modern history.
Many stand out scenes include Sophie's last meeting with her parents before her execution and the actual executions which are carried out as the viewer sees a blank screen, but it is the courtroom scenes which have the most impact as we watch a powerful and evil regime ( represented by Freisler) challenged by 2 young students.
Sophie Scholl is not a familiar name in Britain but it is hard to over estimate the regard she has in Germany. A recent magazine in Germany with a readership of 4 million voted her "the most important women of the 2oth century and young viewers of a German TV channel voted her "the most important German of all time".
This is a film people need to see, it has a far greater impact due to the fact it is actually German rather than an American or British production.
As a movie, Sophie Scholl offers a lasting tribute and makes a statement relevant to today's society, as people all over the world have much greater freedom of speech, we must never forget the reasons we are in that position.


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