At once grandiose, horrific, suffocating, and memetastic, but most importantly perpetually relevant. This film is perhaps the most significant war film of all time and one of the few that explores the full breadth of a nation forced to face the consequences of its choices. Some claim it humanizes atrocity, but the fact remains that it was all driven by human motivations and actions, from table top strategy to the decision to murder kids. Superbly acted (Bruno Ganz *is* ****), with great support casting, and immaculate attention to detail. If nothing else, see this film for an important history lesson.
That's the problem of Downfall in a nutshell: It provokes insufficient emotional and intellectual responses to a grotesque and atrocious dictatorship. Instead of the banality of evil, it gives us the banality of banality.
I was rather surprised at the overall positive reviews for this film. I found the cinematography lacking and the storyline rather mundane. While Bruno Ganz did a remarkable job presenting **** as a compassionate man to those he chose to care for as well as flashes of the monster he was and his diseased mind, I felt the film also whitewashed those who served him and the crimes they committed. They appeared as proud, loyal soldiers, devoted until the end as any soldier is expected to be. Yet these men assisted in the genocide of more than 60 million people and no mention of their atrocities was every made. Also Traudl Junge was no child, she was 22 and aware of who **** was, yet she is portrayed as a pleasant, slightly naive, bland young girl. If you had no knowledge of history all you would know is that **** appears quite a being quite 'off' and everyone else had a strong handle on reality or pleasantly ignorant. I had a difficult time empathizing with any of the characters or even disliking any of them. It generally provoked no response in me other than irritation with the exception of the portrayal of Magda Goebbels. She was well played by Corrina Harfouch and I found myself genuinely feeling hatred towards her as I watched the film. I liked the concept of the film but found the approach as narrow as the halls of the bunker.