Can it be judged as anything else? The first stab at Hitler by a German film, and it’s Hitler at his lowest point*. But this film is not really about Hitler, or even the Nazi’s that surround him. It is about Berlin, about the complete and utter destruction and how horrific that is, no matter who the people are. The middle section of the film, which deals almost exclusively with the final hours in the bunker, seem almost like a country house farce: with the exception of the constant sound of bombing. When we get back out into a ravaged Berlin, the effect is quite clear. The madness that lets any situation get that far is ideology, pride and a dose of personal fear. You will not see a film chock full of so many suicides again I’ll wager.

That the film is therapy is clear from the choice of protagonist. Hitler’s young secretary, herself exonerated for being a “young follower” is seen as both naive and ridiculously loyal. Oh, let’s not forget pretty too as this is a film and these things matter. Sympathy and attractiveness are unfortunately linked in the movies which is why oddly Eva Braun ends up being the most sympathetic character in the film. Everyone likes the boss who is nice to the staff. But the secretary represents modern Germany, well aware of its awesome history: but not really responsible. The film is meticulous with its role call of the fates of the surviving characters: and that fate is mostly imprisonment and death. Those who do not die in the film.

It is an interesting addition to the Hitler industry, and a fictionalised account does take you places a mere documentary cannot. Who would have thought the Goebbels family, as well as being tragically murdered by their mother, also turn out to be the Nazi answer to the Von Trapp family. It is impossible to see them all singing in unison in the bunker and not think of The Sound Of Music. But then it is possible Rolf is in this bunker, or the decadent parties or the murder squads on the street. Downfall is probably miles from what actually happened in the bunker, but that does not matter. What we get is pretty grim, and that is probably a good step for Germany to remind itself of whilst moving on.

*From Hitler’s point of view. There are probably other times when Hitler stooped pretty low from a wider perspective.

Do You See