Monday, July 26, 2010

"HItler in Context" Already Done

In an interview with the London Times -- kept behind a paywall by the publication, but partially reproduced by other sources -- Oliver Stone declares his intention to put Adolph Hilter "in context" in the course of a series of documentaries he's currently producing.

As part of that context, Stone seems intent on blaming industrialists, the US and Britain for Hitler.

The problem for Stone is that the film that places Hitler in his proper context has already been produced.

Directed by Oliver Hirschbiegel, Downfall puts Adolph Hitler within the only context ever really needed: as a madman, ferried into power amidst political and social instability, and then enabled by the simpering weaklings who surrounded him.

Downfall features what is almost certainly the most brilliant portrayal of Joseph Goebbels ever portrayed. In the hands of actor Ulrich Matthes, Goebbels comes to life as the kowtowing wimp who could barely function -- let alone take over as supreme commander of the Third Reich -- without Hitler's constant guidance and approval.

Goebbels was so beholden to Hitler that, following Hitler's suicide, he killed himself in a fashion as close to the method of Hitler's suicide as he could manage.

Hitler himself -- played by Bruno Ganz -- spends the duration of the film brooding, ranting, and ordering executions largely at random.

Stone, for his own part, can't truly be trusted to put Adolph Hitler -- or any other tyrant -- into proper context. As it pertains to Venezualan President Hugo Chavez, Stone long ago demonstrated that he cannot recognize tyranny when he sees it.

"There's no pattern of censorship in [Venezuela]." Stone comically claims.

He may want to tell that the producers and listeners of radio stations Chavez ordered shut down after they criticized him and his government.

Which is, perhaps, all that really needs to be said about this once-talented film maker.

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