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Downfall is an illuminating, thoughtful and detailed account of Hitler's last days.
All Critics (138)
| Top Critics (33)
| Fresh (125)
| Rotten (13)
| DVD (13)
Does Downfall "humanize" Hitler and his henchmen, as its critics have complained? Yes, and it should: to pretend these villains were less than human is to let ourselves off the hook, to take the easy and dangerous exit of demonology.
May be the definitive account of Hitler's final days and the collapse of the Third Reich.
With a steely, unblinking resolve, Downfall stares into the abyss, but does not pretend to comprehend it.
Viewed through a North American lens, the movie itself seems more familiar than fascinating, more innocuous than inflammatory, and, at 21/2 hours, more tedious than anything else.
For emotional effect it trades less in the spectacle of ebbing power than the tragedy of power's mysterious thrall.
Hirschbiegel and Ganz are not apologizing for Nazism. They are trying to come to terms with the fact that the evils of Nazism were invented and carried out by human beings.
Provocative look at Hitler's last days is extremely violent.
...an unflinching, hard, relentlessly honest movie that refuses to ask questions that have easy answers. It is also brilliantly acted, written and focused...
"Downfall" isn't about commuting history's sentence for the Nazis, but heeding its warning - a gruesome, sustained-tension lesson about informed politics and whether those who left evil to its own devices could arrive at a place of complicit guilt.
It's reach exceeds its grasp; nonetheless, a compelling study of Hitler's last days.
As the first German-made film about Hitler's ruination since G.W. Pabst's "Der Letzte Akt" ("The Last Act" - 1956) "Downfall" is a stunning cinematic achievement that illuminates minutiae about the last 10 days of the nefarious German leader who won the h
What an act of bravery it was to make Downfall.
A very interesting look at an oft-over-reviewed subject.
Based on true life memoirs of people who were actually there, this starkly gripping depiction of the last days of the third reich can hardly be described as an enjoyable experience. The german people are suffering terrible hardship as the attacking Russian forces reach Berlin while Hitler's cowardly henchmen are attempting to make their escape or plotting the murder/suicides of themselves and their families when faced with the consequences of their monstrous actions. Lynch mobs roam the streets dispensing "justice" against suspected traitors (who in Hitler's deranged eyes seemed to include virtually everyone) and ill-equipped professional german soldiers are ordered to fight to the death in the face of certain defeat. The entire cast of the film are superb, but it is Bruno Ganz's remarkable performance that is the centrepiece of the film. His portrayal of Hitler veering between twitching broken shell and wild-eyed delusional maniac (who even at the end still commanded fanatical belief in him from some of his people) is totally convincing. It is still difficult to fully comprehend what you are seeing even as it happens in front of your eyes and I was left feeling shellshocked at the film's end;.possibly the most important film made about WWII and something everyone simply must see.
That this, the most accessible, most illuminating film about the end of the Third Reich and the last days of Adolph Hitler, comes from Germany ... well, its mind-boggling. Ganz's performance is soul searing and no one in the piece deserts the high standards he sets. There are no false moments to be found here. A masterwork. A revelation.
Downfall is a true portrayal of the last days of a "human" Adolf Hitler along with the death of a social-political ideology in striking detail. An intimate encounter with history that made me understand that commitment to an ideology is deeply founded on personal absolute truths, realities, and beliefs. Important.
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