If you go into this movie expecting Anthropoid, you will be greatly disappointed. Be warned, it is a very small quiet movie about a German couple whose beloved son is killed at the start of the movie. Gleeson, and, above all, Emma Thompson's gifts as actors carry the movie. The best scene is where Anna receives the fateful telegram. Thompson's best scene, she really impressed me here. Her movies tend to be out of the genres that I watch (Romance), she is a skilled actress. The couple's devastation is largely wordless; their lives are shattered. Otto is the one who decides to strike back against the government that killed his son. Anna, at first, is quite shocked but she warms to the plan. They begin leaving cards of denunciation all around their area; soon, the Gestapo is charting the cards' location and the noose begins closing. What I like about is how understated and against your typical script the movie is. First, the couple has an unhappy marriage; there are quiet moments of recrimination, some bitter words, and, they largely keep their distance from each other. In contrast to In The Bedroom, as the movie plays, their rebellion pulls them back together again. They both know the end of this story, as we do as well. Second, the life shattering grief is so well done: a carved wooden bust of their son's face, Anna holds it close to her silently weeping.
Second: the violence and torture are all off screen. When Otto is captured, we see his head running with blood. Unlike Anthropoid, there is no gruesome on screen violence. I gave Anthropoid a 9, I adore the movie. This director made all the opposite choices about how he wanted to render the tragedy. The movie is like a noose tightening about their necks. This sense of foreboding haunts both of them: near misses, close calls, narrow escapes but, we the viewers, know what is coming. There are a few scenes of a Jewish elderly lady, who is being hidden by other kind people, but, she is a reflection of the main story, her luck runs out. When they come, she makes the wise brave decision. You will see the dreadful power of the SS: when the Gestapo man tries to tell them they arrested the wrong man, watch what happens. This pressure is captured in my favorite scene, the SS proffer Gestapo boy a shot glass, as they standing over bleeding Otto. When they finish drinking, they throw the glasses into Otto's head full force. The Gestapo man has guilt for not saving Anna, he hesitates, watch the baleful glares he receives from the SS. The glares say,"You are next if you don't do likewise."
Yes, the detractors are correct, it is a relatively slow study of how grief makes these ordinary German working people become the most unlikely of rebels. I gave it a seven for the writing and the excellent performances of Thompson and Gleeson. I liked Gleeson's Otto but I was much more impressed with Thompson's Anna. She speaks very little, she has to use her expressive eyes and body language. SPOILER: I love when they are facing the phony show trial, also not shown, and she grasps Otto's hand. Otto says,"You know what is going to happen don't you?" Anna squeezes his hand,"It doesn't matter." She puts such love in her eyes, Otto loses much of his apprehension. This is the motif: Their love for their dead son was expressed by actions that destroyed them. They gave their lives trying to save other peoples' sons. I admired the movie for the message: Everyone can make a difference; they suffered the same fate as more violent rebels like Flame and Citron. Yet, their rebellion was just as brave. If you asked me the lesson of Alone In Berlin, I would say: "We are all alone, within our societies, but we can fight for Right in the way to which we were best gifted by God."
We all must die, they showed the world how to die well. They gave their beloved dead son the best gift you could ever give another. They saved others by laying down their lives. I really liked this movie, yes, it is slow, but has a great beauty about it: Leave Some Cards Behind You. Deus Vobiscum, IMDb. Q.E.D.
Alone in Berlin
Action / Drama
Alone in Berlin
Action / Drama
In 1940, German soldier Hans Quangel is killed in action during the French campaign. His parents, Otto and Anna, are devastated by the loss and their bereavement is unmollified by the joyful hysteria at Germany's victory. Deciding that Fuhrer Adolf Hitler and his Nazi regime are responsible for this tragedy and much more, Otto cannot stand by any longer. As such, Otto begins to create handwritten cards denouncing the regime's abuses and lies, which he secretly deposits throughout Berlin while a disillusioned Anna insists on helping him. As the subversive cards pile up over the years, police detective Escherich is tasked to track down the leafleteer while being pressured by his increasingly impatient SS superior for an arrest for this "treason," regardless of actual guilt. As the stakes rise even as Nazi Germany's day of reckoning approaches, Otto and Anna are determined to spread the truth regardless of the odds even as their opposition awaits the fatal mistake that could doom them.
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June 17, 2017 at 05:39 PM