The Tunnel | Chicago Reader

The Tunnel

Heino Ferch and Alexandra Maria Lara (both of Downfall) play siblings separated by the Berlin Wall in this tense German thriller, which originated as a TV miniseries but was reedited for theatrical release in 2001. Unfolding like a hybrid of The Great Escape and reality TV, it's based on the true-life story of a champion swimmer (Ferch) from the German Democratic Republic who escaped to West Berlin determined to bring his sister (Lara) and her family across later. As if the dogged communist apparatchik (Uwe Kockisch) hunting him weren't enough, the athlete and his cohorts are saddled with an NBC film crew as they dig a tunnel toward their stranded loved ones. Director Roland Suso Richter makes good use of the wide-screen format to show the claustrophobia of East Berlin both aboveground and below. In German with subtitles.

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