(based on various books):
Der Untergang is proof that if
you've got historical material powerful enough, a somewhat weak dramatic
and narrative structure will be less harmful than in an ordinary fiction
film. Hirschbiegel's film is comprehensive beyond its powers and has at
times difficulties staying focused, but there are so much important and
harrowing packed inside that it rises above its problems. Bruno Ganz'
performance is close to caricature, but also profoundly and disturbingly
accurate and expressive. He is in the centre of a thorough and unbiased
examination of the final days of what was left of Hitler's Nazi-regime.
Hirschbiegel wants to look into the deranged minds of the likes of
Hitler, Eva Braun, Mr. and Mrs. Goebbels, Heinrich Himmler and Hermann
Fegelein and succeeds remarkably well at times. Der Untergang is
not a testament to the politics of or the suffering imposed by the Third
Reich, but rather a portrait of a group of people putrefying from inside
and going down with their distorted beliefs still in control of them.
Matthes and Kretschmann highlight a superb supporting cast in this at
times compelling, and constantly interesting film.