I did not have the highest expectations and "Skylines" admittedly starts kind of slow. But after episode 2 it really takes off and benefits from authentic settings, solid writing and very good acting/casting. The inclusion of music and rap works surprisingly well, due to the songs coming from high-profile producers.
Give it a try, you will like it!
This is a depressing movie, but told in a clear and precise style from an unusual insider perspective on the creation of the Nazi regime in Germany.
I just heard recently about the movie, when its main actor, Goetz George, turned 70 and journalists looked back on his main works. To most Germans first and foremost known for his role as police inspector in the hugely popular "Tatort" TV-series, I was genuinely surprised to discover this fine piece of acting from his earlier work. This movie is relatively unknown, but would deserve much more attention.
The movie follows its main character, Franz Lang, from his youth during WWI until the end WWII and his incarceration. The movie portrays a man with a high degree of self-organisation, consequence, a firm belief in honour and a strong belief in hierarchy and obeying orders from superiors. At the same time, he develops a firm, however abstract idea of patriotism. These traits and believes should later dominate almost all of Franz' decision-making in life.
The movie shows the economic hardships after WWI as well as the crushed self-esteem and disorientation of men, many of them veterans, after the collapse of the royal Kaiserreich. Their longing for a hierarchical system that promised guidance and order, but also for the re-installation of lost honour and old values made it easy for the still-insignificant NSDAP to win over Franz, who joins the SA. Franz gets noticed by party officials for his loyalty in the fight with communists and "enemies of the state".
Franz gets more and more entangled in the NSDAP, and does not refuse the call to become commanding officer in a new type of (as he first believes) "educational camp" - the KZ in Dachau. He later gets transferred to Auschwitz and after some time is asked to convert it into a mass-murder machinery. Franz accepts this call, not questioning the order. He takes no responsibility for these actions as his own ones, but follows his leaders blindly with unlimited faith.
Franz is shown not as a careerist or opportunist, neither imbued by hate. Instead, he carries out the mass murder in a somewhat detached manner, which made it ever more intense, as behind all of his actions, you can still see the human being. That is in my view one of the main achievements of this movie.
Franz is very well played by Goetz George, who shows some very precise acting, never giving in to the temptation to over-play. Also great job from Hans Korte, subtly playing cold-blooded Heinrich Himmler.
The movie is rather low-budget and shot in simple style. It is slowly paced, and unagitated, in a well-observing style. Overall, the movie left me in a depressed mood and deeply moved. Worth seeing.