Tuesday, December 14, 2010


Oliver Hirschbiegal, Germany, 2004 (8.5*)
Truly one of the best WW2 films, based on the book by Hitler's last private secretary, Downfall tells of the last days of the Third Reich within Hitler's bunker. Alexandra Maria Lara (Youth Without Youth, Control, The Reader), a Romanian actress whose family moved to Germany is Trudl Junge, the woman who survived those final days in order to bring this story to the world.

Bruno Ganz is excellent as Hitler, without being a parody or impressionist, but capturing the moody personality in his darkest days. There are some side stories just as interesting, such as one of a kid of 12 who takes out invading Soviet tanks in the streets of Berlin with the Russian invention of Molotov coctails. He becomes one of the last heroes given medals by Hitler outside the bunker.

This would now make a good companion film to Judgment at Nuremberg, which placed those surviving war criminals on trial, those who didn't commit suicide along with Hitler and others who didn't want to face a world without their beloved Fuehrer.

This is now one of the highest ranked war films at IMDB, #93 currently on their top 250. It won 15 of 29 award nominations, usually from critics, such as Online Film Critics, London, and Kansas City; it was also nominated for the foreign language film Oscar®, losing to Spain's The Sea Inside.


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These are the individual film reviews of what I'm considering the best 1000 dvds available, whether they are films, miniseries, or live concerts. Rather than rush out all 1000 at once, I'm doing them over time to allow inclusion of new releases - in fact, 2008 has the most of any year so far, 30 titles in all; that was a very good year for films, one of the best ever.

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