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Oliver Hirschbiegel's lengthy study of Hitler's final days sparked controversy in Germany for showing the dictator's private side, but by “humanizing” him, this Oscar-nominated drama (2004) underscores the extent of the Fuhrer's mania for destruction. In a thoughtfully modulated performance, Bruno Ganz portrays an enfeebled Hitler as soft-spoken with intimates but increasingly delusional and implacable toward suspected traitors—among whom he ultimately counted surviving civilians, since all the “good” Germans had already died for him. Unlike many movies about the Third Reich, the film makes scant mention of Europe's Jews, instead focusing squarely on the Nazis as Berlin crumbles. Under the harsh lights of the meticulously re-created, claustrophobic bunker, that scrutiny is relentless. In German with subtitles. R, 148 min.

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