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France, Germany · 2014
1h 24m
Director Volker Schlöndorff
Starring André Dussollier, Niels Arestrup, Burghart Klaußner, Robert Stadlober
Genre Drama

The fate of Paris is in the hands of General von Choltitz, governor of Grand Paris, who is preparing, on Hitler’s orders, to blow up the French capital. The descendent of a long line of Prussian military men, the general has never had any hesitation when it came to obeying orders. This is what’s on Swedish consul Raoul Nordling’s mind as he takes the secret staircase that leads to General von Choltitz’s suite at the Hôtel Meurice. The bridges on the Seine and the major monuments of Paris are mined with explosives, ready to be detonated. Armed with all the weapons of diplomacy, the consul will try to convince the general not to follow Hitler’s order of destruction.

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A compelling historical drama in Diplomacy, which benefits greatly from the razor-sharp, theater-honed skills of two formidable French actors, Niels Arestrup and André Dussollier, who created the roles on stage.


The New York Times by A.O. Scott

The value of Diplomacy is that it produces at least as much unsettlement as relief, compelling the viewer to remain haunted by nightmarish thoughts of what might have happened.


Slant Magazine by Carson Lund

The film isn't really fooling anyone into feeling doom-laden suspense (Paris, after all, is still standing), but the principal performers sell the momentousness of the drama.


New York Post by Farran Smith Nehme

We know Paris never went anywhere, and the film’s a little too flashy and theatrical, with too-neat ironies. As a duel between acting talents, though, this is first-rate.


The Hollywood Reporter by Jordan Mintzer

This terrifically performed piece of filmed theater is filled with twists, turns and underhanded schemes that show how history sometimes lies in the hands of a selected few, not to mention a good glass of Chardonnay.


Time Out by Keith Uhlich

Diplomacy’s origins as a play (written by Cyril Gely and starring the same actors) are always evident. Despite Schlöndorff’s attempts to give the movie some pop through widescreen lensing and noirish lighting, it’s a visually staid affair—very “filmed theater.” Fortunately, both Arestrup and Dussolier are captivating presences.


The A.V. Club by Nick Schager

It’s a stagy setup whose theatrical roots are always front and center, yet it’s one that’s handled with aplomb by director Volker Schlöndorff (The Tin Drum), whose latest has enough visual panache to compensate for the static, conversational nature of the work.


Variety by Scott Foundas

To be sure, we are in that authorial fantasy by which historical figures become shrewder, sharper and wittier than they surely were in life — the domain of Peter Morgan and Steven Spielberg’s “Lincoln.” But when the actors and the dialogue are this good, one scarcely objects.


Village Voice by Serena Donadoni

Arestrup and Dussollier originated these roles on stage, but Schlöndorff (who directed the Hoffman/Malkovich Death of a Salesman) gives it the immediacy of a life-and-death encounter.

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