Sophie Scholl: The Final Days
Director Marc Rothemund based much of Sophie Scholl: The Final Days on real interviews and transcripts of the Third Reich’s dealings with both the eponymous WWII anti-Nazi activist and the group she belonged to, the White Rose. And to the movie’s dramatic detriment, it shows: Many scenes suffer and drag from being verbatim and are cinematically perfunctory. It certainly doesn’t start that way—as Sophie (Julia Jentsch) and her brother Hans (Fabian Hinrichs) print anti-Nazi pamphlets and then stealthily distribute them at Munich University, Rothemund gives his movie a jolt of thriller-film style. But once Sophie and her compatriots are arrested, the structurally lopsided movie bogs down in what you assume are exact re-creations of her long interrogation by Gestapo investigator Robert Mohr (Gerald Alexander Held), only to again pick up emotional steam with her joke of a trial and its dramatically devastating consequences. Holding it all together is Jentsch, who would be at home in silent cinema and whose eyes betray in a glance more intelligence and feeling than three pages of dialogue ever could. Jentsch’s heartbreaking, career-making performance aside, Sophie Scholl gains added currency by its parallel theme regarding what happens to a country when too many people remain silent in the face of officially sanctioned nationalist lunacy.