Der Untergang

4 out of 5 snowstones

I know enough German to be able to follow this movie about the last days of Adolf Hitler's life, as seen by Hitler's secretary. The movie shows the events as cold, well-documented facts, without editorializing.
All through "Der Untergang", I kept wondering if a neo-nazi could watch this movie and swell with pride over his hero's tragic ending. The answer is: not really. Hitler is hardly a martyr, but a man who is stubbornly refusing to accept a reality that no longer fits his twisted demands. He calls everyone around him a traitor and his mood swings from hysterically angry to moved to tears. That said, it is worth noting that one of the characters in the movie is actually played by a neo-nazi, who managed to get himself hired.
I'm not sure if the subplots in the movie (an army doctor wandering through the rubble that once was Berlin ends up in a hospital sawing off legs; a fanatic Hitlerjugend boy loses his parents and ends up with Hitler's secretary) have any basis in fact, but they tell a bigger story: that of a land in ruins. Some people, Germans among them, think that Germany, because of the sheer unforgivableness of its actions during World War II, has no right to point to its own tragedies. I myself disagree. Allied forces and Russians have committed acts in Germany that easily pass the litmus test of war crimes. Trading one atrocity for another is just bad moral mathematics.

Posted by cronopio at 01:04 PM, October 21, 2005