How do you add tension to a story when the audience is already aware of your conclusion?
Hirschbiegel wisely focuses Elser‘s attention upon the individual, exploring the why and what rather than the drama of the attempt on Hitler. This choice allows the film to breathe, and explore life in rural Germany with an intriguing, matter-of-fact, and almost numbing quality.
An assured lead performance from Christian Friedel ensures that within Hirschbiegel’s monotonous and unerring calm, the horror of the situation is forever present. Although not quite the standard of Downfall, this is a thoughtful return to form for the director.
Elser is an ocean lapping on to the beach. From above the sea is calm and serene, but underneath, the world swirls with chaos; Hirschbiegel’s film replicates this to produce a fascinating, consuming drama.
CAST: Christian Friedel, Katharina Schüttler, Burghart Klaußner
DIRECTOR: Oliver Hirschbiegel
WRITERS: Léonie-Claire Breinersdorfer and Fred Breinersdorfer
SYNOPSIS: The breathtaking story of a man who nearly would have changed the world. 1939, when Hitler tricked millions of people at the height of his power, one said a radical “No”: Georg Elser, disparaged as an assassin, is one of the greatest resistance fighters.