It’s quite disheartening to witness a document which shows you the fall of great historical legend who ignited the Second World War and responsible to cost more than 50 million lives of Germans. Downfall is not just film but brilliant authentic portrayal of Adolf Hitler’s last few days inside the bunker.
Director Oliver Hirschbiegel’s meticulous film is not usual world war film glorifying either war or iconize Hitler but made a living, breathing historical authentic recreation of Hitler’s downfall. It is set in war-torn Berlin of 1945 where Germany is about to lose the war as Russian troops surrounded Berlin and Hitler remained in protected bunker became incapable to fulfill his vision. He didn’t glorify the character of Hitler here, instead portrayed him in all flesh and blood. Here he seems weak, disillusioned dictator who lost the control and hope and suffering with his old age and Parkinson’s disease.
The topnotch casting is essential when you are dealing with authentic history and Swiss Actor Bruno Ganz sets a standard with his accurate portrayal of Hitler’s character. In supporting roles Juliane Kohler as Hitler’s girlfriend/wife Eva Brown is just so integrated. Infect the only survivor and the most significant character who’s witnessing the downfall is Hitler’s young secretary Traudl Junge performed so naturally by Alexandra Maria Lara. She is the only character projecting the flame of Hope and positive about the life from beginning to end.
The film has approximately two hour thirty minutes length and the last one hour is terribly dark and tragic showing the horror of war with Hitler’s suicide in bunker and its aftermath where the Generals and soldiers remained stick to the promise they made to Hitler. They chose shooting selves than surrender to Russian army. The chilling cold blooded poisoning of kids in their sleep inside the bunker is one of the most horrible scene to bear. There are many striking scenes like this- showing crude paradox of belief of German army where the protection is provided to Hitler and his loyalists and their family when common civilians of Berlin were under severe attack. In one of the scene Eva Brown is enjoying dance party inside the bunker when simultaneously bombs are exploding outside and killing innocent civilians.
The film was nominated for Oscar in Best Foreign Language Film and won many awards all over the world and surely one of the finest German cinema conveying technical finesse and sensitivity of the enigma named Hitler.