While I’m completely aware that Alone in Berlin is based on a true story, I’m afraid Vincent Perez’s big-screen adaptation is thin and tedious. There’s not enough here for the director/co-writer to flesh out, and likewise for the talented leading cast (Brendan Gleeson, Emma Thompson, Daniel Brühl).
The original story is harrowing: in 1940s Germany, Otto (Gleeson) and his wife Anna (Thompson) grieve over the loss of their son who has died fighting in WWII. This serves as a sobering reality check about the current nazi regime for the couple, snapping them out of a static trance and sending them into silent, impassioned rebellion. Otto – anonymously – begins leaving postcards on the streets of Germany with messages of revolt; triggering a detective (Brühl) to find the person willing to overthrow Hitler’s government.
Alone in Berlin is quiet on the outside with a rousing centre – miming Gleeson and Thompson’s unsung heroes. However, due to botched priorities, Perez buries the interesting details and motivations of Otto and Anna in order to capture the physical dreariness to the circumstances around them.
True, Alone in Berlin may be appropriate to its period and the risks taken when a working-class minority takes a stand, but filmmakers have done this before without making their finished film an act of monotony.
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Addison Wylie: @AddisonWylie