Substantial, measured, classically framed, this account of Nazi resistance fighter Georg Elser’s life story proves showing too much deference to your subject or any established storytelling format can make for something proper but expressly dull. A thriller-esque opening notwithstanding, the film falls back into familiar grooves as it details its hero’s travails, perseverance and tragic end. Biopic fatigue kicks in fairly soon. Christian Friedel gives a resolute, nuanced central performance whose emotional reach is only hampered by too much narrative and aesthetic déjà vu.
Elser | Directed by Oliver Hirschbiegel (Germany 2015) with Christian Friedel, Katharina Schüttler. Starts April 9
Originally published in issue #137, April 2015