Reviews of Recent Independent, Foreign, & Documentary Films in Theaters and DVD/Home Video

Directed by: Martin Doblmeier.
Produced by: South Carolina ETV.
Written by: Doblmeier.
Director of Photography: David Goulding, et al.
Edited by: Matthew B. Kelly & Timothy Finkbiner.
Music by: John Keltonic.
Released by: First Run.
Country of Origin: USA. 90 min. Not Rated.

Despite its inspiring themes, this straightforward biography of Lutheran pastor Dietrich Bonhoeffer, who conspired to kill Adolf Hitler, is better suited for TV than for the big screen. After his beloved older brother is killed in the Great War, Bonhoeffer is drawn to the church, believing that through it he could change the world for the better. As both the Protestant and Catholic Church collude with the Nazi state, Bonhoeffer joins the conspiracy, which includes his brother-in-law, feeling obliged as a Christian to help victims and resist Hitler's policies.

But Bonhoeffer's role in the plot is never spelled out. Accompanying the by-the-numbers narration by actor Klaus Maria Brandauer is an abundant use of family photos and archival footage, which varies from an eerie scene of a Christmas tree surrounded by swastikas to generic footage of shots of New York in the '20s, which are incongruously used during a voice-over concerning Bonhoeffer in the '30s. Fortunately, contemporary interviews with a niece and nephew, former students and Bonhoeffer's best friend help liven the documentary's pedestrian tone. KT
June 20, 2003


About, 180 Thompson Street, New York, NY 10012 - Contact us