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    Downfall (2004): Movie Review



    Downfall (or “Der Untergang”) is a 2004 German/Italian/Austrian film. It is based on many books: Inside Hitler’s Bunker (by Joachim Fest), Inside the Third Reich (by Albert Speer), Until the Final Hour (by Traudl Junge, one of Hitler’s secretaries), Hitler’s Last Days: An Eye-Witness Account (by Gerhardt Boldt), and many others. The film is in German and Russian language. Distributed by Constantin Film, the movie is directed by Oliver Hirschbiegel. 

    Plot. The film depicts the final ten days of Adolf Hitler’s reign of Nazi Germany in 1945, seen through the eye of a woman.


    The movie begins with a scene in 1942. A group of German secretaries are presented to Adolf Hitler at the Wolf’s Lair in East Prussia. After some tests, 22-year old Traudl Humps (now Traudl Junge) is selected to be one of Hitler’s personal secretaries.

    The film then shifts to April of 1945. Humps still works for Hitler as Red Army forces are strongly bearing down on Germany. Helplessly, Hitler retreats to a secret bunker in Berlin for what would prove to be the last ten days of his life and that of the Third Reich. Hitler declares, "I will defeat them in Berlin, or face my downfall."

    Many events ensue. Hitler rewards some active youths, promote some of his men, and reflexively and constantly changes the battle plans. In an attempt to lighten the atmosphere, Hitler’s mistress Eva Braun throws a cheerful party but Soviet artillery shells end the party early. 

    The next day, more attacks are done and it is evident that the Nazi regime is crumbling. Hitler’s closest associates, including Heinrich Himmler, Joseph Goebbels and Albert Speer urge him to flee Berlin. However, Hitler refuses to leave the city. In his desperation, Hitler is frequently ranting to Junge, blaming everyone around him while trying to understand where his leadership failed.


     

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