The People vs. Fritz Bauer full movie review - Succeeds in every regard
There has been a lot of talk about the German movie "Labyrinth of Lies" recently as this one starring Alexander Fehling was chosen as Germany's official submission to the next Academy Awards and I have seen that one almost a year ago.
It was a decent film dealing with a prosecutor who attempts to bring former high rank Nazi official to their responsibility and have them tried in course. Now this is a very similar plot compared to "The People vs. Fritz Bauer" with one major difference. Bauer is near the end of his career/life apparently, while Fehling's character is a rising star. You could even say that with the bathtub scene early in this film here, the protagonist could very well have died before the film even began.
Yet there is another difference, namely that "The People vs. Fritz Bauer" is the far far superior movie. I must say that these 105 minutes were an amazing watch and it shows that Germany can not only produce excellent films about legal issues, but also that it is still very much possibly to come up with a convincing plot on the whole Nazi issue that has been done so many times in movies. The main reason here is possibly Lars Kraume's excellent script and direction. The Italian-born filmmaker has made movies for 20 years now and experience pays off. I must say I was not really familiar with the name, maybe because he worked a lot on television in recent years, but he certainly won me over.
Another reason for this film's success is Burghart Klaußner. Is there anything that needs to be said about him? I don't think so. He has been among the most consistent German actors for years and I am not scared to say that he is generally among the best actors currently working. You may have seen him in works like "Das weiße Band", "Requiem", "The Edukators" or "Goodbye Lenin". His Fritz Bauer is certainly on par, if not better, compared to these performances. I may be biased as I have loved him as an actor for years, but he really is that great in my opinion and it would be nice to see him get some awards recognition for his turn here. Definitely a good bet at the German Film Awards next year. Same can be said about Ronald Zehrfeld who has slowly, but steadily entered into Germany's acting elite over the last couple years. He plays a role stuck between co-lead and supporting and adds a lot to the movie as well thanks to his good range and great chemistry with Klaußner. He sure holds his own here. Finally lets not forget the supporting actors, who also deliver and make the most out of what they are given, especially Sebastian Blomberg being one of the main antagonists in here.
I thought the film's script is absolutely outstanding. It manages to be politically interesting and relevant without going too much into detail and becoming boring this way. We not only find out about the characters in terms of their professions, but also about their private lives (or lack thereof). And last but not least, the movie even manages to be pretty funny on several occasions, like the socks reference or the talk about what a perfect marriage looks like. An excellent lead performance that results in everything you could ask for in a mix of drama and political thriller that still manages to put a smile on your lips on several occasions. You really don't get all this very often these days. Do not miss out and watch it if you can. Deserves all the accolades it hopefully gets. Highly recommended.