Though Anna and Otto's story is undoubtedly a fascinating example of the necessity of resistance and Perez is clearly a skilful director of actors, there's something anticlimactic about Alone in Berlin.
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While not the most formally adventurous or action-packed picture, it is a film of compelling urgency.
Filmed with competence rather than actual verve, Alone in Berlin works – just about. There’s enough of a thriller about it to hold the interest, even if it’s a bit on the stodgy side.
Handsomely packaged, the film unfortunately is also too well-behaved and lacking in psychological depth to really set itself apart from countless other WWII dramas.
Tastefully lit and art-directed throughout, with a somberly mellifluous Alexandre Desplat score to ease it along, this fact-based drama finally cushions its harshest emotional blows, though Brendan Gleeson’s deeply sad, stoic dignity in the lead cuts through some of the padding.
Adapted from Hans Fallada’s 1947 novel (and based on a true story), Alone in Berlin is dour and flavorless.
There is always something of value in the sincere recreation of ordinary heroism. And Perez’ film does sincere if ordinary justice to the idea that where there is a will for it, resistance can find a way, be it so small as to be postcard-sized.
The film attempts a tone of tragic understatement that registers instead as flat, plodding, and underfelt.
A lump in the throat inspired by real-life heroism is all that this dour, monotonous drama has to offer. Indeed, it’s easy to guess that the story is fact-based—it’s far too blah to have been invented from scratch.
Pérez relies on his cast to do what they can with sketchily written roles, and also to pull off that dodgiest of acting tasks, speaking English with a pronounced German accent – something the stars curiously manage with much more shading and conviction than the mostly Teutonic supporting cast.