Cincinnati Babyhead

Speaks his mind on music & movies!

Movie : Downfall (Der Untergang)

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A group of young women are brought to a remote location and led into a building. They are to meet with the Fuhrer. Nervous anticipation is the mindset. A short time later Adolf Hitler enters the room to greet the women. He is to choose a secretary from the group. Hitler is cordial, like the good uncle. But he is also worn and frail looking. He chooses his new secretary and we pick up a few years later with the scene moved to a bunker in Berlin where Adolf Hitler and those around him will play out the last days of the war and in most cases the last days of their lives.

Subject matter I think we all know about. So why would I choose to do a take on this film? Well because it’s a really good piece of work. Director Oliver Hirschbiegel creates the world that the story plays out in. He did his homework and gives us life in the bunker and life above the bunker. “Life” is a tricky word because it is more like waiting around to die. The bunker is a pathetic world trying to hold onto the idea that Germany will prevail. From Hitler making impossible demands on his generals. Others in the bunker treating it as life as usual. Carrying on with social functions. While above, outside the bunker Berlin is under siege and in total war torn chaos. Hirschbiegel creates both of these worlds and plops us right in the middle of the madness.

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This is a hard take to keep short because of the enormity of what the film takes us through. The sets, the eye to detail are meticulous. The performances are truthful from top to bottom. Too many to note. From the total fanatical belief in their leader, to the conniving self serving “how the hell do I get out of this mess?” To the utter disbelief and shock of the reality of the situation.

Bruno Ganz in the lead role is nothing short of brilliant. I can’t say enough about his portrayal. Making this man we all know  into a living breathing being. Not playing the one note frothing at the mouth ego maniac. He gives us contradictions in the character without us ever losing the fact that he is one scary man. Totally dehumanizing everyone around him. Sacrificing not only people he hated but also the ones he used to gain power. Ganz nails this justification. Insatiable with mental illness thrown in.

I was saying to one of our fellow bloggers that I wasn’t crazy about bio pics. This is a big exception for me. Hard subject to tackle but the film makers pull it off big time.

“It’s so unreal”

 

 

34 comments on “Movie : Downfall (Der Untergang)

  1. hanspostcard
    May 3, 2020

    That was a great movie- I haven’t seen it since it came out. Thanks for putting it back on the radar I am going to watch it again. Agree on Ganz- brilliant!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • cincinnatibabyhead
      May 3, 2020

      Top to bottom a really good movie. Glad I could push towards it. So many great performances led by Bruno. He didnt just put and the clothes and makeup he took on Hitlers twisted soul.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. hotfox63
    May 3, 2020

    Just as some red wines take years to mature properly in bottles, this movie also gets better over the years. Bruno Ganz is a sensational Hitler actor. Some scenes in the “Downfall” remind me of some scenes from Fassbinder films.

    Liked by 1 person

    • cincinnatibabyhead
      May 3, 2020

      Agree. Not a cheap, fast quicky film. Meticulous and carefully done. Bruno was a brilliant choice.
      Fox if you did the research you would probably find Fassbinder’s influence on Hirschbiegel.

      Liked by 1 person

      • hotfox63
        May 4, 2020

        I think it’s interesting how the angel from “Wings of Desire” suddenly could play the devil himself on the screen. Bruno Ganz was a great actor. He showed – especially in his later films – how precisely he could represent a figure, a character.

        Liked by 1 person

      • cincinnatibabyhead
        May 4, 2020

        The jump between the two roles is interesting and displays his range plus his choices as an actor. I love his work Fox. Just watched Malik’s ‘Hidden Life”. I had no idea Bruno was in it it until he showed up on screen.

        Liked by 1 person

      • hotfox63
        May 5, 2020

        I took the opportunity (thanks, CB!) to watch “Downfall” again yesterday. Even if you know the movie already, there is more to discover. Bruno Ganz plays Hitler in a way that brings you closer to the nature of this unpredictable dictator, the contradiction between the caring boss in one side and the choleric warlord who has lost all connection to reality on the other. It’s hard for me to believe, that Traudl’s Junge’s decision to take the job as Hitler’s private secretary was only influenced by her youth and excitement. But it’s true that her diaries provided the closest factual accounts of that period and especially the last days in the bunker in Berlin.

        Liked by 1 person

      • cincinnatibabyhead
        May 5, 2020

        Fox, I dont know Junge’s actual actual age at that time but just imagine being thrown into that situation. Her mind must have went into sensory overload.with all that was coming at her. The information she was privy to, being under siege, being next to the most powerful man in Germany. Seeing the myth of the man disintegrate. I coundt even comprehend her point of view.
        Like you said, “more to discover”. Because of the force of the character and Ganz’s performance, Like you say so much more comes forth. All the different performances from Eva Braun to Albert Speer. No weak moments for me. Thanks Fox. Glad you were inspired to watch it again.

        Liked by 1 person

      • hotfox63
        May 6, 2020

        Traudl Junge said shortly before she died, that her youthful age was actually not an excuse for her fascination for Hitler, she should have done it different. Anyway, the movie is a good reminder and just right in time.

        Liked by 1 person

      • cincinnatibabyhead
        May 6, 2020

        Thanks for the great input Fox

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Heavy Metal Overload
    May 3, 2020

    Amazing film. I’m watching through The World At War series at the moment. When I’m done with it I’m gonna watch Downfall again.

    Liked by 1 person

    • cincinnatibabyhead
      May 3, 2020

      I delve into all those documentaries. Just watched a couple lately. They are hard to beat if they are done with care, like the one you’re watching.
      Downfall captures some of that particular time. It’s not the real thing but the film makers try to get as close as possible. Like one of the characters says near the end, “It’s so unreal”. I couldn’t imagine.

      Like

      • Heavy Metal Overload
        May 3, 2020

        I’ve been to the site of the bunker too… couldn’t help thinking about this film while I was there. So unreal sums it up!

        Liked by 1 person

      • cincinnatibabyhead
        May 3, 2020

        Stand there and let the vibe and thoughts take you. That could be a little moving if you let it.

        Like

      • Heavy Metal Overload
        May 3, 2020

        It was a strange thing. Don’t know if you’ve been but there’s nothing there. There is a simple info sign to mark the site but they just built over it with flats and a car park. They sensibly didn’t want to make it a memorial. So it’s a weird experience!

        Liked by 1 person

      • cincinnatibabyhead
        May 3, 2020

        I agree on how they dealt with it. Few ghosts floating around here.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. 1dancequeendq
    May 3, 2020

    I haven’t seen this movie but I am intrigued. I’ll look for it on Netflix.

    Liked by 1 person

    • cincinnatibabyhead
      May 3, 2020

      Cool that you’re “intrigued”. There was lots for me in this film. The Magda Goebbels character is a poster child for how scary this thing was. Netflix is hit and miss with these kind of films. Good luck!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. jerseydreaming
    May 3, 2020

    I feel like this movie has a new special significance in these times we now find ourselves living through.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I haven’t watched this picture, but it surely looks compelling based on clips I’ve seen. Bruno Ganz, who sadly passed away last year, was a great actor. His portrayal is almost frightening. He really absorbed this madman!

    Liked by 1 person

    • cincinnatibabyhead
      May 3, 2020

      Bruno more than “absorbs’ the character. All the actors are top notch with some of the performances scary good. Yes I will miss Bruno’s work.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Yeah, Another Blogger
    May 3, 2020

    I took a look at google a minute ago. I didn’t know, or didn’t remember, that Ganz is no longer with us. He died early last year. I loved the movie he was in called Wings Of Desire.

    Liked by 1 person

    • cincinnatibabyhead
      May 3, 2020

      I’ve watched two movies lately that Bruno is in. One just before he died and one just a few weeks ago. I had no idea he was in them ad pleasantly surprised when he showed up to do his, always great work. I think it was you,Neil that I said I’m not crazy about “bio picks”, this is a big exception.
      ‘Wings Of Desire’ is on deck for a re-watch. A much younger BG.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Tony
    May 3, 2020

    This is a staggeringly good movie. There was a German magazine that asked “Are we allowed to show the monster as a human being?” Yes – because the fact that it was a human being that carried out so much evil (and those who were inspired to do so in his name) is what makes it so terrifying and vital that we learn from it. Ganz’ portrayal is the performance of a lifetime.

    Liked by 1 person

    • cincinnatibabyhead
      May 3, 2020

      Well said Tony. I was just saying to someone else about The Magda Goebbels portrayal which puts a stamp on your comment. “Terrifying” is the word. Scary shit.. That sums it up for me. Blind faith in political and religious leaders. CB tries to use what little brain power he has. I sure as *uck am not going to let someone else use it.
      Bruno was everything you said. Every actor in the world should see that work. That’s how you do it folks.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Jim S.
    May 3, 2020

    You know, I recall this coming out and I *think* I saw it but can’t recall. I’ll have to give it a go. I’m kinda done with the Nazis so I might watch this and then give it a long break.

    Liked by 1 person

    • cincinnatibabyhead
      May 3, 2020

      I hear ya on the Nazi thing. I was done with them years ago but not done with good films. This is no lightweight job. Tight from top to bottom and like the comments have been saying, Bruno is worth the price of admission. He really is Doc. Plus the director did his homework and puts you in that time and place. Not a place any of us would choose.

      Like

  10. Jim S.
    May 3, 2020

    My film buff friend Bill always reads the Sunday Times and calls me about movies, half of which never make it this way. Every third one is some Nazi thing. He told me he was tired of boxing films; I told him I was tired of Nazi films. What more is there to say? That said, I know the reputation of this flick so I’ll give it a go. A good movie is a good movie.

    Liked by 1 person

    • cincinnatibabyhead
      May 3, 2020

      I have the same thoughts on different things but good musicians and film makers can make any material decent to really good. That’s what this is. Really good.

      Like

  11. Tommy
    May 7, 2020

    CB, out of left field on this one – on Youtube, there are dozens of parodies made with clips from this same movie that I’ve been seeing for years. (just gooogle “Hitler rants” on Youtube) There’s a site (or sites) where you can make your own English subtitles to go along with the German language scenes of Hitler losing it with his generals. People have gotten very creative with it. (Bad sports trades or draft picks, political events, awards – anything where Hitler can be told about something that will make him explode).

    https://www.captiongenerator.com/make-a-hitler-reacts-video

    I’ve never seen the movie but I’ve seen a LOT of these rants 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    • cincinnatibabyhead
      May 7, 2020

      When he gets the news about Stiener, he loses it. Yeah I can see how people would use that. I can imagine all sorts of scenarios..
      Catch the movie. It’s good if you like that stuff. See you tonight if you’re up.

      Like

  12. BuriedOnMars
    May 13, 2020

    Ah, this one is a gold mine for the people who make the memes. I haven’t watched it yet but I definitely do want to see it. Biopics for me are a mixed bag for me.

    Liked by 1 person

    • cincinnatibabyhead
      May 13, 2020

      Another person who commented mentioned it to me. I had no idea. I’m not a big “Biopic” guy either but this is a big exception in my book. I think you and the gal might enjoy it. As long as subtitles dont get in your way.

      Like

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