The more problematic issue is the effect of how the film differs from its predecessors: it’s a German film aimed (if not exclusively) at German audiences and has a German actor (Bruno Ganz) playing the Führer on the big screen for the first time in 50 years. Ganz’s job is to humanise this monstrous, iconic and finally unknowable figure, which he does superbly, veering between rants against the verminous Jew or the failure of the German volk and polite consideration for his secretary’s demands. But his nationality seems largely irrelevant. Only in the scenes where we escape the underground hell – an effective depiction of the Hitler Youth fighting on the streets as the Russians close in; the operation of the SS killing squads; some surreal cigarette breaks in the Chancellory grounds; the heroic actions of an SS hospital doctor working under blanket bombing; and a fanciful coda as a secretary makes her escape through Russian lines by averting her face – do we perceive the director’s careful, but not objectionable, awareness of modern German sensibilities.
Cast and crew
Alexandra Maria Lara