Berlin, 1940. Working class couple Otto and Anna Quangel receive the
news that their only son has lost his life in the battlefield and decide
to resist the Nazi regime in their very own way. Soon the Gestapo is
hunting "the threat".
Genre : Drama
Country : UK/France/Germany
Emma Thompson : Anna Quangel
Brendan Gleeson : Otto Quangel
Daniel Brühl : Escherich
Director : Vincent Perez
You and your damn war!
You and your damn fuhrer!”
There are countless films about the resistance during WWII. But I had never heard of a German resistance against the Nazi regime. I'm sure there were more German citizens who weren't set up with the affairs of the German Empire. Most likely they kept this to themselves out of fear for reprisals. Anna (Emma Thompson) and Otto Quangel (Brendan Gleeson), whose name was Hampel in real life, may have had an aversion to the regime in the first place because their son had to join the German army. That's beyond dispute. The day they received a letter with the news that their son was killed at the front, is a turning point for both. Anna starts mourning in a serene way, while Otto's rebellious nature takes over and his plan is to write compromising messages on postcards and leave them behind at random places in Berlin. In this way he's trying to make clear to others that the country they are living in, isn't such an ideal place. Even if there's only one person who starts a silent protest as well, Otto still will be convinced that he has succeeded in his plan. Just look at it as a revenge for the death of his son.
"Alone in Berlin" isn't exactly an action packed movie and progresses slowly. All you get to see the whole movie is how Otto writes down in a patiently way his protest lyrics on a postcard (with kid gloves and in a different style of writing), the callous way these two resistance fighters interact with eachother and an investigating held by the young police inspector Escherich (Daniel Bruhl). Although I actually wondered which tactic the inspector had in mind so he could track down those who are responsible. All he did was looking endlessly at a city map of Berlin with a whole series of flags pinned on it. Each pin represented a found postcard. 285 Postcards, to be exact. And the only clue that Escherich has is the handwriting on the cards. A handwriting revealing certain characteristics of the writer. That's about it.
So besides a subplot about an old Jewish neighbor who's taken care of by the Quangel's if needed, one can only witness their silent protest and their relationship as a long married couple. A marriage with no affection and passion anymore. Even the letter about the death of their son, elicits no signs of any emotion. Despite the superb acting, it was all pretty boring. Even the use of English with a ridiculous sounding German accent, felt forced. This was obviously a strategic move, so they could put two big names on the payroll. "Alone in Berlin" does show that not all citizens were ardent supporters of Nazi Germany, but this one-man action ultimately had no influence on the rise of Adolf Hitler as we've learned in history classes. Eventually it was nothing more than a voice in the wilderness. Had they used the needles that indicated the places where the postcards were found, and planted those in Hitler's ass, it would have been more painful than this admirable action.
My rating 5/10
Links : IMDB
Labels: 5/10, Drama