Wednesday 6 January 2010


For the first time in an age I found myself snowed in and unable to get to work. It was 50:50 but a text message from an ex-colleague who lives not far from the office Downfall Hitler Youthpersuaded me of the futility in making an attempt. So I found myself at home with no remote access to work and had to take the day as leave.

I watched Downfall; a film I’ve wanted to see for a long time yet somehow managed to miss despite the numerous repeats last year. Though it’s a tremendous film, its real achievement is in portraying the various bunker occupants as human beings rather than unique expressions of evil. As the film critic Roger Egbert wrote:
...he [Hitler] was not a great man, simply one armed by fate to unleash unimaginable evil. It is useful to reflect that racism, xenophobia, grandiosity and fear are still with us, and the defeat of one of their manifestations does not inoculate us against others.
In avoiding caricature we are prevented from writing a line under this history, in humanizing the protagonists we are reminded that such evil could happen again; and this is what makes Downfall a truly great film.


  1. I watched Downfall soon after returning from my first visit to Munich and was also astounded by it. Yes, it "humanizes" Hitler, because Hitler was, after all, a human . . . you don't need to be some sort of supernatural beast to unleash what Ebert calls "unimaginable evil."

    Unfortunately, the endles Downfall meme on YouTube of subtitling Hitler's rants as various goofy things has blunted this film for most audiences. I'm glad I saw it before the meme appeared and went out of control.

  2. You know I was worried about whether I'd be able to get past that scene, having seen so many spoofs (and found some very funny), but it turned out not so bad. Having said that I wish I'd seen the film before those started appearing!

  3. I've not even heard of this movie -- where have I been?

    Really like the way you write.