Saturday, August 19, 2017

[Review] 13 Minutes

Directed by Oliver Hirschbiegel, the historical thriller 13 Minutes revolves around the real-life events of one man's attempt to blow up Hitler during a Munich speech in 1939.

That man is Georg Elser (Christian Friedel), a modest carpenter and accordion player from a small German village. The non-linear plot portrays the aftermath of Elser's arrest where he's brutally interrogated, the events leading up to the assassination attempt, and the recollection of his earlier life and romance with a woman named Elsa (Katharina Schüttler).

Of course, the most intense moments come during Elser's intricate and secretive plotting of explosives, and the most harrowing moments come as he endures harsh methods of torture by the hands (and tools) of the Nazis. It's difficult to watch these unflinchingly detailed scenes, which involve a lot of straps and vomiting, and I'll end it there. Unfortunately, the film's overlong flashbacks can't help but feel like underwhelming filler, especially as they break up the narrative's tense momentum. And Elser's character is never quite as deeply developed as we would like.

Still, 13 Minutes is a pretty well-crafted and fascinating portrait that makes you ask What if?

( 7.5/10 )

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