The Damned (La caduta degli dei) Reviews
This lengthy, ponderous drama lacks the slam-bam action that one might expect from a Nazi-themed film -- in fact, there is really only one violent scene. Nor is hatred toward Jews a strong motif. No, this tale is more about corruption and betrayal within the ruling Germans themselves, both between the Von Essenbecks and the Nazis and between the rival SS and SA factions of the national army. Along the way, the script's treats include occasional pedophilia, incest, suicide, transvestitism, homosexuality and a mild orgy (hence the film's initial X rating), as well as one of cinema's most unromantic wedding scenes ever. However, be prepared to weather plenty of dour, sluggish dialogue.
The filmmaking is masterful beyond a somewhat florid score which seems unsubtle at times, but there is one important problem: The cast includes three or four male actors with similar feminine, blue-eyed, high-cheekboned features, and it requires extra work to avoid being confused by these characters' interwoven plots. Watch closely.
Note to xenophobics: You might be surprised to learn "The Damned" is almost entirely in English.
And the stand-out star in the proceedings is easily Berger who shines as the lascivious, effeminate, smarmy Martin Effenbeck, heir to the family business. If it were better known film I'm certain his performance would be regarded as one of the most villainous characterizations in cinematic history.
If it were guilty of any sin it would be that it's about 25 minutes too long. But that's a paltry gripe to say the least.