Downfall (Der Untergang) - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Downfall (Der Untergang) Reviews

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October 24, 2016
Superb movie depicting the final few days of Hitler in the Berlin bunker. Downfall makes for fascinating viewing and is based on accounts of people who were present at the events depicted. Director Oliver Hirschbiegel weaves a story that shows the way in which the Nazi plans spiralled out of control as Hitler becomes increasingly deranged as the Soviet forces close in on Berlin. Bruno Ganz is superb as Hitler, chilling, charismatic and unhinged. He throws everything into his performance and it is perhaps unfortunate that one of the key scenes has been so often and effectively parodied on the internet as this detracts a little from the power of the scene. There are so many chilling moments in this film. One of the most affecting has to be the murder of her children by Magda Goebbels which is horrific owing to the clinical nature in which it is executed. This is a very fine WWII movie indeed and will not be for everybody but for anyone interested in the story of this conflict, it is a gritty and realistic account of historical events.
September 27, 2016
Great film with a fantastic cast.
August 26, 2016
An incredible look at the last days of Adolf Hitler
August 26, 2016
August 22, 2016
Downfall is an intense portrayal of Hitler and Germany in the final days of the Third Reich, told from the point-of-view of Hitler's secretary. Hitler is portrayed not as a monster, but as a human (although a psychotic one). The film is frightening, tragic and sickening. Excellent overall.
July 24, 2016
Excellent film for its parodies alone.
July 21, 2016
Everyone has a "human" side to them... even Hitler, and this movie clearly shows it.
½ May 26, 2016
A hard, unflinching and completely accurate look at the final 10 days of the Nazi Regime.
May 21, 2016
Throughout the history of cinema there have been numerous films based around the deadliest and most widespread human conflict in history; they focus on soldiers, civilians and the hundreds of stories in between. But one area seems to have gone unnoticed by the movie-making masses; a view of the conflict from the perspective of the Nazis. Downfall is here to break that mould and in doing so, presents a brilliant and emotive trip through the fall of a dictator.

Downfall (or Der Untergang in Germany) is focused on the fall of Adolf Hitler; in the closing days of World War Two the Russians are advancing into Berlin and the Fuhrer (played by Bruno Ganz), along with his most esteemed generals and closest allies in the Reichstag's secret underground bunker are struggling to cope with countless losses and setbacks as a result of the advancing allied forces. Tensions gradually build within the Reich at the prospect of losing the war and impending doom and with this etched into their minds, the last Nazi officials realise that they must act to avoid capture or in other cases preserve the well-being of the German people in the midst of catastrophe. The story unfolds from a variety of perspectives, often flashing between different members of the Reich as they witness numerous events that unfolded in the Battle for Berlin. But the main narrative voice in Downfall is that of Traudl Junge (Alexandra Maria Lara), one of Hitler's main secretaries who stays in the bunker, only to avoid the dangers of the outside world. From her viewpoint we see a much more emotional side of Hitler that no film has ever covered before; even though he was a truly despicable character (which is emphasised many times with his pride for murdering the Jews of Europe, scorched Earth policy and general disdain for his own people) he was still a human being who suffered and broke down as many of us sometimes do under loss and pressure. Downfall also deals with other themes in the war genre; the destruction of Berlin by the Russian Army gives way to many atrocities, making the audience feel sympathy for the people of Germany at that dark time, even the infamous Hitler's Youth comes to a realisation that they put their trust in the wrong leader as they themselves are involved in the fighting. The greatest strength of Downfall's plot is that it sets itself apart from practically every other war film out there; it concentrates heavily on the characters and their struggles, putting across a rather depressing tone from Hitler's viewpoint, whilst also emphasising that the war had just as great an impact on the citizens of the Nazi Regime than it did on those directly involved.

There are many actors playing a role in Downfall, all of whom add to the film's authenticity and all of whom deliver brilliant performances all around. At the centre is Bruno Ganz as Hitler, a fantastic performance which is perhaps the most realistic and compelling portrayal of the dictator yet seen in a film. Ganz spent four months studying to play the role to the best of his ability and it really shows; the dictator's selfish nature and inability to lead a country is shown elegantly, whether he is insulting and blaming his generals for his losses or being too arrogant in believing that his operations will succeed without any difficulty. By the end of the film, you understand fully why Hitler fell, both as a leader and as a dictator. Hitler's main generals, particularly his closest generals (played by the likes of Thomas Kretschmann, Heino Ferch and Ulrich Noethen) are also handled brilliantly; you can feel their nerves shredding when facing their leader with the news of another defeat with sweat in their hair and lumps in their throats. Then there are those who turn a blind eye to Hitler's evil and will follow him to the end; Juliane Kohler as Hitler's wife Eva Braun is almost completely ignorant of the losses that take place and often pretends that the danger doesn't exist at all, highlighting her naive devotion to the Fuhrer. Similarly, Ulrich Matthes and Corinna Harfouch as Joseph and Magda Goebbells are just as evil as Hitler in that they outright refuse to believe that the Nazi regime will fall; these performances further emphasise just how ruthless and sadistic the Third Reich was. Finally there exists the characters that still possess their innocence in a place riddled with death and destruction; Alexandra Maria Lara puts in a great performance as Traudl Junge; she remains calm and professional to avoid provoking Hitler's wrath while also avoiding the dangers of the besieged Berlin; in a sense, she represents the mind-set of the German people as a whole who were tricked into believing that Hitler would bring an era of peace and prosperity at the time. Likewise the young Peter Kranz (Donevan Gunia) along with his fellow peers believes that he is doing his country proud by serving in Hitler's Youth, but in reality he is serving a monster and has clearly been desensitised by his experiences in direct combat. The way Downfall handles and juggles so many characters at once is simply astounding; every character has ample screen time and their arcs all come to an end in one way or another. It all adds up to an excellent cast that can rival that of big Hollywood blockbusters.

Downfall is not only one of the best World War Two films but also one of the best foreign films ever made. It's one of the few films that can bring fresh perspective and humanity to a truly evil individual while also giving plenty of attention to those around him.
May 4, 2016
Very powerful re-telling of the last days of the Third Reich as it happened in Hitler's bunker. Well done film.
½ April 22, 2016
May be the best WWII movie I have seen after Saving Private Ryan though both of them deals with completely opposite perspectives and different genres. The screen time allocated to the Bunker and its attention to detail virtually transports you there. Seeing Hitler as a delusional old man with a pompous past and a deserted family now rather than the monster we have seen him as so far is surreal. The director evokes mixed feeling for Hitler making you feel for his precarious state while simultaneously loathe the hatred that engulfed him, not just on Jews but mankind itself.

Berlin is surrounded by Allied Forces and Adolf Hitler (Bruno Ganz) and his top brass have secluded themselves into a well furnished Bunker. The story is partially seen through the eyes of his young secretary Traudl Junge (Alexandra Maria Lara). Hitler is delusional about a non-existent army that can push its way from behind and scatter the enemy. While this places courage in some, places horrendous fear in most. Mostly deals with Hitler's final days, his current views on the war and utter disrespect to life, his relationship with Eva Braun (Juliane KŲhler) and an ever faithful family, the Goebbels.

While the melodrama is in the air, the director takes care not to push it into the face of the viewer. Alexandra has such a pleasing innocent face, she will almost make you believe how Ms. Junge saw through the ordeal without making out much of it. While most of the cast deliver competent performances, Bruno Ganz would have made Hitler proud with his ecstatic emotional outbursts alternating with subtle body language that speaks a thousand words without saying anything. How he missed the Oscar, I am interested to see who beat him to comment on it. After the Russian artillery comes into the range of the Bunker - every dialogue, emotion and action is associated with fear or being skeptical about optimism which is brilliantly shown when Eva Braun forces a party to overcome the impending doom. While most of the action is said and understood, the director didn't shy away from showing a peek on the outside of Berlin which is full of fear, hordes of corpses and strewn away limbs drawing from a strong graphic content and state-of-art pyrotechnics. The background score is mostly non-existent and but delicately used whenever required. Screenplay and editing are slick without a dull moment and builds up enough suspense leading up to one of the most known endings.

Hitler would have been proud roasting in Hell
April 10, 2016
An intense and cerebral account of Hitler's last days in his Berlin bunker with a masterful performance by Bruno Ganz that captures the madness and melancholy of a defeated man.
March 9, 2016
Amazing movie.
The best war film i have ever seen.

Amazing individual performances all round. Must see!!
½ January 25, 2016
This is a must see for anyone interested in WW2 history. This is the most realistic account of the final days of the Third Reich. It's a fascinating account and as true an account of the events at the time, as it is based on eyewitness accounts, particularly Hitler's private secretary. Bruno Ganz doesn't seem to be acting. He is Hitler.

A quality of a masterpiece is when you stop thinking you are watching a film and become absorbed in the reality portrayed on film. Reality and acting merge into one visual - the film being watched. This is a fine example of this phenomenon.

If you can't get enough of the final days of Hitler and his crew, seek out The Bunker (1981) with Anthony Hopkins in the lead role, for a much lesser depiction.
January 18, 2016
A great film for any WWII buff. This German film tells us the story of Hitler's final days in his Fuhrerbunker, along with his entourage, as the final battle of WWII in Europe rages above them. The Soviets have surrounded Berlin and all seems lost. A disillusional Hitler attempts to keep things afloat in vain. He, and many others.. spoiler alert.. end up committing suicide, thus finally sealing the fate of Germany and the Third Reich for good. Bruno Ganz portrays Hitler flawlessly. His performance shows us his maniacal side, along with his human side. Making us believe we are watching the real Adolf Hitler. The rest of the cast look so much alike to their real life counterparts, that it's uncanny. The film pays very close attention to detail. Everything from costume, environment and tone to historical accuracy. It even spawned a YouTube parody series! This film is a MUST see for any history or foreign film lover.
January 1, 2016
I rarely give 5 stars but this movie takes one of the most difficult subjects, the last days of Adolf Hitler and the Third Reich, and turns it into a compelling and emotionally charged masterpiece. It does not shy away from portraying the evil of the man and the regime, and Bruno Ganz's performance as Hitler is exceptional in it's brutal honesty, but it also offers up glimpses of the good that survived despite being surrounded by all that hate and brutality. Viewed in it's original German with English subtitles, when one recalls the voice of Adolf Hitler from historic footage and then hears Bruno Ganz, chills may well run down one's spine. This is where all the pieces that make great cinema come together and grab the viewer from the first shot until the credits roll.
½ December 30, 2015
"You must be on stage when the curtain falls."
½ December 29, 2015
I watched this film drunk. Thought i was great and interesting. might not be true obviously but still intriguing nether the less. The actors were great, yeah just a great film. hitler is a class act guy with 99 problems and the bitch aint one.
½ December 20, 2015
Brano Granz deserved an Oscar for his flawless acting as Adolf Hitler but Hollywood would never have it - By far the best interpretation of what happend in the bunker. - Im a war film collector and this is a must own. 2 Disc Special Ed has great features including tour of bunker..
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