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Downfall

Old 03-29-05, 09:21 AM
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Downfall

Had the pleasure of seeing Downfall yesterday . Excellent German made movie about the fall of Berlin and Hitlers last days in his bunker. It hasnt received much fanfare and is in limted release probably due to its being a subtitled movie thats almost three hrs long. The running time went by quick though . It has been getting good reveiws though which are well deserved.
Best film Ive seen in a theater in a long time
Old 03-29-05, 09:34 AM
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I plan on catching it Wednesday. I've heard it was fantastic.
Old 03-29-05, 09:38 AM
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Originally Posted by Deke Rivers
It hasnt received much fanfare
*cough* Nominated for an Oscar *cough*

I was only mediocre on the film.

- Bruno Ganz was great, but too often it felt like I was watching the Bugs Bunny version of Hitler.
- The film is wobbly directed, and looks like a public access version of WWII every time the action steps out of the bunker.
- And I was confused about the violence. Sometimes my face was pushed into suicides and mass death, and other times the camera panned away? That I did not get.
- And the picture is wayyyyyyyyyyyy too long. Especially the last 30 minutes, which feel like 9 days.


And yes, I do realize I will be completely alone with this opinion.
Old 03-29-05, 10:47 AM
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Originally Posted by scott shelton
*cough* Nominated for an Oscar *cough*

I was only mediocre on the film.

- Bruno Ganz was great, but too often it felt like I was watching the Bugs Bunny version of Hitler.
- The film is wobbly directed, and looks like a public access version of WWII every time the action steps out of the bunker.
- And I was confused about the violence. Sometimes my face was pushed into suicides and mass death, and other times the camera panned away? That I did not get.
- And the picture is wayyyyyyyyyyyy too long. Especially the last 30 minutes, which feel like 9 days.


And yes, I do realize I will be completely alone with this opinion.
by no fanfare I meant as in a limited release with little or no advertising..if it was nominated for an Oscar then i wouldnt have known as I have no use for those awards shows nor do I follow them

as far as length I was so engrossed in the movie that the 2.5 hour running time went by very quick
and i dont think you are alone in your opinion..just in the minority..i have read a handful of luke warm reviews already
Old 03-29-05, 01:29 PM
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I saw this earlier this month, and I thought it was great. It did seem like a reenactment at times, but I love that kind of stuff on the History Channel anyway, so it was right up my alley. If you watch some of the old newsreels and historical films on Hitler, it seemed like Ganz was right on target with Hitler's passion, however horribly misguided. I thought that was the most interesting aspect to the film; that it portrayed these people as humans, not just as pure monsters.
Old 03-29-05, 01:35 PM
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Originally Posted by FinkPish
I saw this earlier this month, and I thought it was great.
I share the same opinion.
Old 03-29-05, 01:45 PM
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Originally Posted by FinkPish
I saw this earlier this month, and I thought it was great. It did seem like a reenactment at times, but I love that kind of stuff on the History Channel anyway, so it was right up my alley. If you watch some of the old newsreels and historical films on Hitler, it seemed like Ganz was right on target with Hitler's passion, however horribly misguided. I thought that was the most interesting aspect to the film; that it portrayed these people as humans, not just as pure monsters.
I think it portrayed them as the fanatics that they were...Goebbels wife throwing herself at Hitlers feet (as well as her "other" actions) summed this crowd up perfectly

Last edited by Deke Rivers; 03-29-05 at 02:19 PM.
Old 03-29-05, 03:28 PM
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I'll add another enthusiastic for "Der Untergang" aka "Downfall". In addition to "The Sea Inside", this was only my second trip to the theater this year and it was well worth it. In comparison to "The Sea Inside", I would liked to have seen "Downfall" take home this past year's Oscar for Best Foreign Film.

Though I wouldn't call it a masterwork (I did have some nitpicks), it is certainly very, very good. I did just order the R2 DVD and plan on giving the film another evaluation in a week or so. One nitpick based on my initial viewing was that I felt the "gore factor" included in the film came across as a little gratuitous. Related to that, I felt some of the shots of severed body parts were a tad bit less than realistic looking (they looked too much like they were made out of rubber). Avoiding specifics to spare others from spoilers, I thought some of the aspects relating to certain death scenes needed to be tweaked in order to be more convincing.

From the trailer, I thought there would be a little more time given to battle scenes. I don't have an issue with the route they chose in making the film more character based but in that case, I kind of wish they had trimmed the subplot involving the blonde kid. Or they could have kept that part as is but expanded slightly on the battle aspect to give me as a viewer a better sense of the "noose-tightening" nature of the events. I know the Russians closing in was constantly referred to and exhibited through explosions and such but a few more shots of actual Russian troops circling in closer and closer might have been good.

Also, I kind of wish the film - towards the end - hadn't "dipped its toe" into the pool of the Holocaust film genre. Yes, I do realize that the Nazis and the Holocaust are now & rightfully intertwined and inseparable but I thought in doing so it took away from what had been the focus of the film.

The film is grim and somber. While I did like the angle of showing Hitler & Co. more as "regular" people rather than cartoonish freaks, I felt little if any sympathy/compassion for them as the assorted characters met their fates - the youngest characters included. I've read of reactions to the contrary in other reviews & comments but their downfall distressed me not (60 years removed from their evils, I suppose that the well-documented and exhaustingly examined nature of their acts is just too well-burned into my psyche).

Which brings about perhaps an interesting thought, does my callousness towards their fates - even if it's only a movie - make me in a small way not so different from them? It is that easy to care little for and disregard your fellow man? Does this reaction from me validate the film's potrayal of "them" as men and not beast-like anomalies of nature? Given the right time, place, and set of circumstances would many of us have within ourselves the capacity to engineer - like Hitler and others before & since - further roadblocks on the road to humane evolution? Maybe it is more comforting to think of the Nazis as monsters because thinking of them as normal - albeit severely misguided - men would mean that the horrors of the past are not long buried but simply lie dormant, omnipresent, and waiting to arise still within all of mankind. Those who do not learn from history are destined to repeat it. Have we yet truly passed the test??? I wouldn't relish debating the case with the judges of the cosmos.

What got into me just now. Anyway, I've invested (wasted?) way too much time in typing this post - on top of that I'm not quite sure it makes any sense - the last part specifically. I should probably just delete it.....what the heck, let it stay...........and have at it.
Old 03-29-05, 03:31 PM
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Originally Posted by flixtime
I'll add another enthusiastic for "Der Untergang" aka "Downfall". In addition to "The Sea Inside", this was only my second trip to the theater this year and it was well worth it. In comparison to "The Sea Inside", I would liked to have seen "Downfall" take home this past year's Oscar for Best Foreign Film.
oh don't get me started about "The Sea Inside" what a terribly overrated flawed film.

(to each his own...)
Old 03-29-05, 04:25 PM
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Apologies in advance for these off-topic comments:

"The Sea Inside": good and well-acted I suppose, but also unremarkable, forgettable, uneventful, and too often just plain dull. Certainly disappointing based on the expectations I had. I think professional critics dropped the ball on this one (but I seem to think that more and more nowadays). I'll give it another viewing perhaps but the whole thing just left me indifferent and failed to stir my emotions. Based on viewing the trailer, maybe I was expecting a more Hollywood-style man against the system type of film. The only scene that left a truly positive impression for me was the the bit with the visiting priest.

Plus, while the scene was okay on its own, and I sort of understand why it was done (character-development, breathe some life into the film's pacing, and to break the claustrophobia of the film), the "flying scene" came across more as a directorial cheat or cheap trick, and seemed to undermine more than anything else the idea behind the film. While the film might have played as dull, stagnant, and talky without the flying scene, at least it would have been more true to what they had intended, and I would have acknowledged their courage in doing so.

I did think "The Sea Inside" was good (a "damned with faint praise" good), but I'd say it was closer to "Lifetime TV movie-of-the-week" rather than timeless masterpiece. To be fair however, from all the sniffling and nose-blowing I heard in the theater crowd when I saw the film, a fair number of others viewers did find the film particularly affecting.
Old 04-18-05, 06:50 PM
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Originally Posted by flixtime
Which brings about perhaps an interesting thought, does my callousness towards their fates - even if it's only a movie - make me in a small way not so different from them? It is that easy to care little for and disregard your fellow man? Does this reaction from me validate the film's potrayal of "them" as men and not beast-like anomalies of nature? Given the right time, place, and set of circumstances would many of us have within ourselves the capacity to engineer - like Hitler and others before & since - further roadblocks on the road to humane evolution? Maybe it is more comforting to think of the Nazis as monsters because thinking of them as normal - albeit severely misguided - men would mean that the horrors of the past are not long buried but simply lie dormant, omnipresent, and waiting to arise still within all of mankind. Those who do not learn from history are destined to repeat it. Have we yet truly passed the test??? I wouldn't relish debating the case with the judges of the cosmos.

.

We may all be living within the comforts of modern technological and societal "advances" but come a horrible natural disaster or great man-made crisis of any kind and most of us will easily revert back to our primal dark natures. Not even that. When a college football team wins a championship you see all the apes come out of the wood work and destroy. Take a look at all our prisons. The evil that is within those walls will make even the most jaded person realize the thin line between society and our dark natures is thin. And would make even the version of the Devil that is preached in our churches blush.


....Not to mention recent genocides like Rwanda, Cambodia, Bosnia, Sierra Leone and on and on. Oh, thats right one of "them" do not equal one West European or American life.


Back on topic: Downfall was one of the best WWII films I've ever seen.

Last edited by IanH; 04-18-05 at 06:59 PM.
Old 06-05-05, 07:03 AM
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Der Untergang- Downfall

Hey everyone,

I am doing an assessment on this film and more specifically how Hitler is portrayed in the film. I was just wondering who has watched it and whether they believe that this depiction was too humane, too kind, or simply accurate in stating that Hitler was a human, with human tendencies, however also being a meglomaniac. Any thoughts would be of much help.
thank you,
Jacqui
Old 06-05-05, 09:20 AM
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I thought Hitler's depiction was satisfying, as he wasn't a one-dimensional character.

All the other films I've seen paint him only as a monster, but it makes sense that within the confines of his people - he was probably a more gentler man.

The film also shows him as a man who is at times angry, sad, dissillusioned and hopefull. Basically he's shown as a human, and not some cartoon monster nazi.

I think other director's are too afraid and heavy-handed, that they feel they need to portray Hitler in the worst possible light (as a monster without any real human elements) and force-feed the audience the emotions they're supposed to feel towards the man.

This film shows Hitler how he probably was, and it's left up to the audience to generate their own feelings.
Old 06-05-05, 09:26 AM
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I plan of buying this R1 DVD when it comes out!
Old 06-05-05, 04:02 PM
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Originally Posted by jacqui_rose
Hey everyone,

I am doing an assessment on this film and more specifically how Hitler is portrayed in the film. I was just wondering who has watched it and whether they believe that this depiction was too humane, too kind, or simply accurate in stating that Hitler was a human, with human tendencies, however also being a meglomaniac. Any thoughts would be of much help.
thank you,
Jacqui
it portrayed him and his followers as the whackos that they were perfectly
Old 06-05-05, 04:21 PM
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Here's what I posted in another thread:
It did seem like a reenactment at times, but I love that kind of stuff on the History Channel anyway, so it was right up my alley. If you watch some of the old newsreels and historical films on Hitler, it seemed like Ganz was right on target with Hitler's passion, however horribly misguided. I thought that was the most interesting aspect to the film; that it portrayed these people as humans, not just as pure monsters.
Old 06-06-05, 08:31 AM
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I’ve seen it and I must say that I believe its depiction is the best of any I’ve ever seen. I’m not going to claim to be scholar of the time. I have read here and there of the era and the players involved, but I am no expert.

The Holocaust obviously is an event that will reverberate for centuries and depictions of Hitler in film have certainly fallen into the portrayal of “pure evil”.

What I thought was horrifying about “Downfall” was that we didn’t have the safely of witnessing this man as something as an “other”. His foibles, beliefs and emotions are very much ours, only that he pursued his well beyond where most of us would have not.

It would be the same as Saddam Hussain today. The man has done horrible wrongs and the populace notion is to decree him as an alien of some sort. Not a Human. Not one of us.

He is one of us. He is loved by some I’m sure. He is though of as a kind and funny fellow by some I would assume also. Just like Hitler. Horrible man in public action, but warmly regarded privately.

I don’t mean what I’ve said to excuse Hitler, or Saddam of their actions, or not hold them accountable, however, I feel that the sooner we recognize what they are, that is people, the closer we can get to understand the psychoses of these people.

“Downfall” may feel like revisionist history to some, but after watching it, it seems much more plausible and true and terrifying.
Old 06-06-05, 04:49 PM
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Haven't seen the movie, but the conventional wisdom among German (and other) scholars is that the interpretation was extremely correct, right down to the spoken inflections, which, if you're not a native speaker, will be difficult to distinguish (or sound cartoony). What worried a lot of people is that because this interpretation was pretty much spot on, and he did have a human side, it would expose a lot of people to perhaps feeling sorry for him.

What I found most interesting is that Bruno Ganz himself became terrified while playing Hitler. Even though this was re-enactment, he was often secluded outside of the set and to him it was a huge relief to finally end the movie so he wouldn't have to portray him anymore.

Otherwise, explaining the effects of Hitler and WW2 through a German lens is something so complex that, to an extent, it still hasn't been done adequately. (Certainly, some atonement has been made, but there lies a deep undercurrent of effects caused by the first half of the 20th century which we will still see the effects of only in a few decades).
Old 06-06-05, 10:20 PM
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Showing us the humanity and monstrosity of Hitler was what made this film so great. It is simply misguided and disillusioned to think of Hitler as a demon with horns who showed no human characteristics. It's simply not that black & white.

I saw the HBO movie Conspiracy shortly after watching Der Untergang and found that similarly refreshing, though nowhere near the same scale.
Old 08-22-05, 06:26 PM
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I finally got to see this and I really liked it. I honestly haven't read much about Hitler or his last days specifically. I felt as though I was really there watching the events unfold. It has me wanting to read a bit more about it. The same thing happened when I watched Gettysburg the first time. I felt like I was there witnessing what happened and it spurred me on to read the other Shaara(the son) books.
Old 08-22-05, 11:28 PM
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I just watched this too and really changed my perspective of Hitler. He was like the Devil incarnate with the things he said. Brutal.
Old 08-23-05, 11:31 AM
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Originally Posted by PopcornTreeCt
I just watched this too and really changed my perspective of Hitler. He was like the Devil incarnate with the things he said. Brutal.
So prior to this movie you thought Hitler was an OK guy? Just a little misunderstood perhaps?
Old 08-23-05, 03:47 PM
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Originally Posted by kcbrett5
So prior to this movie you thought Hitler was an OK guy? Just a little misunderstood perhaps?
Nah, I just never really knew what he was like and figured most of the stuff I had heard was being exaggerated.
Old 08-23-05, 10:15 PM
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I agree, that it was a great film. I also thought it lasted a little too long, everytime I thought it was over the camera would fade in for another scene. It also had a cheap feel to it at times, and when Hitler would go off on on of his screaming fits I thought the actor was overdoing it a little, but then I'd remember old newsreel footage of Hitler and realize Bruno Ganz was spot on.

Overall, I'm most impressed that they were able to do something that I thought impossible, they told a story about World War II that hasn't been told before.
Old 08-23-05, 11:30 PM
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Originally Posted by GoldenJCJ
...It also had a cheap feel to it at times...
I'm curious what you mean by this. The movie had amazing production design and epic feel to it, even though most of it took place in a bunker or on the streets of Berlin.

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