7 March 2003 | cweeks262
Excellent performances, phenomenal anti-war film, but not perfect.
These are stellar performances by John Cusack and Noah Taylor. The story draws you in such that when the movie abruptly ends, you want to see and hear more. What were Hitler's influences? Was he a product of his environment? Without a doubt, Hitler was an angry man when returning from WWI to nothing. Many were in the same boat. Anti-semitism was alive and well long before Adolf took it and carried it to the extent that he did. And Hitler, like many others, found solice in nationalism.
One criticism of this movie was its depiction that Hitler had developed his emotional oratory skills at a young age. The historical accounts (Shirer's Rise and Fall of the Third Reich) seemed to indicate that he didn't really find his speaking voice until later. This was 1918 and Hitler is only 29 or 30 years old.
Also, the scene where Taylor riles up an auditorium full of Germans with an anti-semitic speach didn't fit with the rest of his portrayal of a timid, weak-minded, lost-soul, young Hitler. This scene seems to defy the rest of the image of Hitler we are given.
This is not to criticize Noah's portrayal. It is absolutely stunning. He had to have spent hours watching footage of Hitler in action.
This movie leaves you wanting more information. What else made him become the monster presented in the textbooks?
It is unfortunate that the Academy could not pay more attention to the performances in this movie, as both Taylor and Cusack both deliver. I believe that Hollywood has a fear of treading anywhere close to this subject matter except to deliver stereotypical portrayals of the historical people and events.