Before The Fall

"Weak"

Before The Fall Review


I am officially done with World War II movies, especially if they center on Nazis. Sick and tired doesn't even begin to tell you where I am at with these movies. There are billions of other important events that haven't gotten a quarter of the attention Nazis have, and it won't stop until movies about 9/11 start coming out. Come on, guys, do a little research and I'm sure you'll find another time where humans were really evil to other humans. There's nothing that terrifying in Dennis Gansel's tepid Before the Fall, but I don't mean that as a compliment.

There have been movies made about Nazi dentists (Marathon Man), Nazi secretaries (Blind Spot), and even one about a Jewish Nazi (Henry Bean's astonishing The Believer). Now, we are treated to the story of a Nazi boxer. Well, not exactly. Friedrich (Max Riemelt) hasn't really decided where his intentions are; his father is lenient and could very well be a communist, but he lives in Berlin during the height of Nazism. His ability as a boxer gets him an invite to the Napola School, an institute that says it's for exceptional students but is actually a place that strips German youth of individuality and pity to draft more for the Nazi effort. While there, he makes friends with the sharp, poetic Albrecht (Tom Schilling), the son of a German Gauleiter (It's pretty much a mayor, but saying it in German makes me sound smarter). They form a tight bond, but Friedrich also finds support and acceptance with his boxing coach, Albrecht's father, and most of the other students. It's these two forces that are in constant battle throughout the film and that make for all the emotional and moral fireworks that make up most of its storyline.

If there is something to admire here, it's the acting of the two leads. Riemelt has talent and the ability to make an emotional scene glimmer in his face without making it melodramatic. Friedrich's decisions aren't new and don't cause much tension, but under Riemelt, they seem at least frustrating enough for us to want to keep watching. He finds his match in the mousy Schilling, who finds the bravery and honesty in Albrecht and doesn't cop out when his writing gets him into deep trouble. Truthfully, the film just doesn't care enough to do anything new with old material. If you can't foresee the decision Friedrich makes simply from reading this review, read it again. Every action is pointed, calculated, and, indeed, has been tested to make sure an audience will cheer. Furthermore, the so-called brutality isn't done with enough carnality or dead emotion to make us riveted by the enemy. We are simply asked to call on other films' brutality and the simple mention of the word "Nazi" as enough to make us scared. As if that's not enough, all of the sexual subtext between Albrecht and Friedrich is dismissed as a wandering feeling they might have gotten from drinking too much soda, and it never pays off in the slightest.

It's not like Gansel didn't have a chance to make a harrowing film here. If we had maybe seen the Nazi influence on him with as much passion as Albrecht's influence is given, the film would have had caused some genuine anxiety, but it never gives us that. The terror of the Holocaust is used as a backdrop, which is okay if it is used in a way to further more important parts of the story (such as the bond between father and son in Life is Beautiful). Instead, Before the Fall disregards the true horror of its surroundings just to put more emphasis on a limp story of good overcoming evil. I guarantee you nothing this cheesy happened during World War I.

Aka NaPolA, Napola - Elite für den Führer.



Before The Fall

Facts and Figures

Run time: 110 mins

In Theaters: Thursday 13th January 2005

Box Office Worldwide: $3.8M

Budget: $4.5M

Distributed by: Picture This! Entertainment

Production compaines: Seven Pictures, Olga Film GmbH, Constantin Film

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 2 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 68%
Fresh: 26 Rotten: 12

IMDB: 7.5 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Starring: as Friedrich Weimer, as Albrecht Stein, Jonas Jägermeyr as Christoph Schneider, Leon A. Kersten as Tjaden, as Heinrich Vogler, Joachim Bißmeier as Dr. Karl Klein, as Gauleiter Heinrich Stein, Alexander Held as Friedrichs Vater, Sissy Höfferer as Friedrichs Mutter, Michael Schenk as Josef Peiner, as Frau Stein (Albrechts Mutter), Michael Lerchenberg as Lateinlehrer

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Colossal Movie Review

Colossal Movie Review

It's rare to find a movie that so defiantly refuses to be put into a...

King Arthur: Legend of the Sword Movie Review

King Arthur: Legend of the Sword Movie Review

It's unlikely that Guy Ritchie could make a boring movie if he wanted to. This...

Snatched Movie Review

Snatched Movie Review

It doesn't really matter that the script for this lively action-comedy is paper thin: teaming...

Jawbone Movie Review

Jawbone Movie Review

Boxing movies aren't usually this thoughtful. Sure, there are plenty of punchy moments in the...

Whisky Galore! Movie Review

Whisky Galore! Movie Review

Scottish filmmaker Gillies MacKinnon (Hideous Kinky) remakes the 1949 Ealing comedy classic, although it's difficult...

Alien: Covenant Movie Review

Alien: Covenant Movie Review

Master filmmaker Ridley Scott is back to continue the story 10 years after the events...

The Journey (2017) Movie Review

The Journey (2017) Movie Review

A fictionalised account of real events, this drama is reminiscent of Peter Morgan's work in...

Advertisement
Sleepless Movie Review

Sleepless Movie Review

In remaking the 2011 French thriller Sleepless Night, the filmmakers have dumbed down both the...

Unlocked Movie Review

Unlocked Movie Review

By injecting a steady sense of fun, this slick but mindless action thriller both holds...

Lady Macbeth Movie Review

Lady Macbeth Movie Review

A seriously impressive feature directing debut with a star-making central performance, this period British drama...

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 Movie Review

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 Movie Review

It was never going to be easy to match the impact of 2014's Guardians of...

The Promise Movie Review

The Promise Movie Review

The director of Hotel Rwanda, Terry George, turns to another humanitarian horror: the systematic murder...

Their Finest Movie Review

Their Finest Movie Review

Skilfully written, directed and acted, this offbeat British period film tells a story that catches...

Unforgettable Movie Review

Unforgettable Movie Review

With heavy echoes of trashy thrillers like Fatal Attraction, this movie overcomes its painfully simplistic...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.