There’s a fascinating documentary to be made about the not-quite-faded shadow of twentieth-century fascism, and the children who grew up knowing their fathers were monsters. This isn’t that film. Author and human rights lawyer Philippe Sands is a likeable but unforgiving host, bringing together two German men, Niklas Frank and Horst von Wächter, who are both the children of leading Nazi officials.
It’s riveting to see them struggle with the past: Frank is disgusted by his family legacy, while von Wächter is still making excuses for his father. But the film’s tone is didactic rather than inquiring. Like any good lawyer, Sands is already sure of the point he wants to make, with the result that depth and nuance get a bit lost. A handful of remarkable scenes stand out, in particular a visit to a gathering of hardcore Ukrainian nationalists, to whom von Wächter’s father remains a hero. But overall this skims too lightly over a deep and important topic.