Friday, February 20, 2009

Movie Review- The Empty Mirror

The Empty Mirror (1996) directed by Barry J. Hershey with Norman Rodway as Hitler.
It's the end of the war & Hitler is in his bunker or is he in purgatory? dictating (get it!) an important life overview to his nervous typist. Hitler is having all sorts of visions of characters from his past, & is backed up by a projector showing various Nazi propaganda films. The movie is quite tedious, Norman Rodway doesn't feel like Hitler, he feels more like how American & English text-books want you to feel about Hitler, he looks too mean & too brutal. The lengthy diatribes that Hitler goes into aren't the sort of observations that someone would make about their own life, but are the observations of a pop-academic working up a psychological profile of Hitler to serve present-day propaganda/history aims. The wikipedia page about the movie says, "While not cited in the movie or its credits, the movie is, for all intents and purposes, a dramatized version of Robert Waite's psychohistory of Hitler, The Psychopathic God (1993, Da Capo Press). For example, the movie includes several psychological theories (Hitler's speculated fear of decapitation) and his enjoyment of the artwork of Franz Stuck, theories which only Waite has put forward." The movie seems based on a one-man show, which would definitely be a better format for the whole package, however, the writers seemed to have a hard time humanizing Hitler, & getting past his iconic status & historical role, which makes this movie into 118 minutes of tedious "what we think you should think Hitler thought." A reviewer on the IMDb said, "He was an example of a human problem. Only the scale, intensity and speed not the essence of Hitler's results were distinctive. Viewing Hitler as a man should not be confused with feeling sorry for him or excusing him. Humanity deserves and requires a complete and accurate explanation which cannot happen as long as there is demonization in the process."

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