What would happen if Adolf Hitler were to suddenly be transported to modern day Germany? This is the question the satirical, part mockumentary tries to answer this question. As the premise suggests, the film follows Hitler trying to get his bearings in modern Germany and eventually becomes a television success.
The film is both hilarious and illuminating. Massuci (who is playing Hitler) has an excellent grasp on Hitlerian mannerisms, especially on the first television appearance where he maintains silence,drawing audience attention, before speaking. He’s a fish out of water, which is where most of the hilarity comes from. But the film, while very funny, also has a very serious tone in it as well, almost as if it has the pulse of contemporary Germany. There are many things that this fictional Hitler says that are absolutely correct.
These illuminating sequences are the unscripted sequences with ordinary German people. Many people, whether they be elderly or young women voice their complaints about immigration and their disillusionment with democracy. Our Hitler marvels at technology, such as flat screen television, but after seeing what’s on, lambastes it for the pointless trash it is. He meets with AfD and NPD members and lambastes them for their lack of charisma, such as by falling asleep when the AfD guy is talking about fiscal or education policy. We also see people who look absolutely stoked to see him, getting selfies and doing the Roman salute with him. But we also see others who are deeply offended and in a very pleasurable moment, see some punk looking skinny antifa kid yelling ‘fuck Germany’ to then get pulled down by some ordinary looking football fans. I’m not sure to what extent editing influenced this, but it seemed to me as though all the people who had positive reactions were largely tourists in Germany or a cross section of regular folk, whereas those who had negative reactions were largely human refuse.
As I said, the film is very funny and has lots of excellent moments, but in the third act, it loses a little bit of steam when it steers into a more dramatic tone that feels like sermonising and trying to elicit some guilt, which is probably why this film was allowed to be made and distributed in Germany in the first place, because otherwise the film has it’s fair share of moments that will feel very controversial to many,especially the German establishment.
But aside from a somewhat darker and on the nose, slightly preachy third act, this is a very timely film that has it’s pulse on the continued political polarization and actual views of your ordinary German on the street and it does this without mocking or doing anything mean spirited with those individuals. This was filmed in around 2014 into 2015 and in the wake of Merkel’s open borders policy, this film is doubly relevant. It is a film that might be challenging and controversial for some and an absolute delight for others and I think it encourages a multiplicity of interpretation, especially in the sense of our being enamoured with Hitler from different points of view. It should be on Netflix in most countries, so if you have Netflix, spend and evening watching a timely and intelligent comedy.