In November 1939, Georg Elser's attempt to assassinate Adolf Hitler fails, and he is arrested. During his confinement, he recalls the events leading up to his plot and his reasons for deciding to take such drastic action.
The breath-taking story of a man who nearly would have changed the world. 1939, when Hitler convinced 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. Written by
During the interrogation Nebe admonishes Elser for detonating the bomb on November 8 but no explanation for the significance of this date was mentioned. November 8 was the anniversary of Hitler's Beer Hall Putsch, a failed coup attempt in 1923. See more »
A Super-16 film projector is shown but it wasn't until the mid-1960s the format was created by a Swedish cinematographer. See more »
"If humanity isn't free, everything dies with it." Georg Elser (Christian Friedel)
I love Nazi-related films: those uniforms, certainty of their mission, and their embodiment of evil. The docudrama 13 Minutes is more a love story than a carefully-historical account of Georg Elser's failed attempt to assassinate Hitler in 1939. Successfully paralleling the complexity of Elser's love for a married woman, Elsa (Katharina Schuttier), director Oliver Hirschbiegel shows the eccentric character of Elser's motives for the attempt and the Nazis' uncertainty about his ideals.
The bulk of the docudrama is Elser's interrogation, especially by the ambivalent Arthur Nebe (Burghart Klaußner), whose sympathies emerge only later in the story. Other Nazis are central casting: handsome, spiffy, focused, and scary. Throughout, the filmmakers emphasize Elser's dogged honesty and willingness to be even more honest in the face of threats against Elsa.
Although the love affair with her occupies the major part of the film, including the oafish drunken husband, Erich (Rudiger Klink), the emphasis on interrogation remains at times repetitive and inconsequential, even in the face of Hitler's demand to know who supported Elser's attempt. The film loses power as it becomes clear he devised the plot on his own even with the Nazi's brutal attempts to extract his accomplices' names.
As one interrogator asks, how could "an ethnic German hate the Fuhrer so much?"--an echo of today's anti-Trump mantra.
Speaking of which, a sequence after drug inducement seems completely extraneous give the re-hashed and jumbled images. In essence, 13 Minutes is uncertain which way to go: torture or love story. In the end it has a weak rendition of both.
"Hitler is war and if he goes, there will be peace." Interrogator
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