Alone In Berlin - This Movie Doesn't Quite Rock
Dir: Vincent Perez
Starring Emma Thompson, Brendan Gleeson, Daniel Bruhl
Now here’s a perfect example of a great story, plus a strong and able cast, unfortunately married to a poor delivery. (We all know – it happens.)
Adapted from the post-WWII book by Hans Fallada, and based on the true story of middle aged and somewhat distanced couple Otto and Anna Quangel (Gleeson and Thompson) who, following the death of their son at the front, registered their protest to the Nazi occupation by writing and leaving heartfelt postcards of quist dissent at various public locales throughout their native city of Berlin. Evidence that sometimes protest can take the smallest form and be as effective as all the bombs in the world, a fact that is not lost on the local inspector Daniel Bruhl, who struggles to quell such a small uprising.
It’s a fascinating story, but one you wish that director Perez would have more faith in. Instead, he diversifies his film, taking in minor characters and focusing on their subplots, imbuing them with more import and equal weight than they necessarily deserve. Thus, his film as a whole become unbalanced with the superbly wracked yet understated Gleeson and an equally sturdy and, at the briefest of moments, moving Thompson, popping up almost like guests in their own story.
Moments are still powerful, but the overall feeling is one not just of tragic loss, but of lost opportunities.
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