By Mark Saldana
Rating: 4 (Out of 4 Stars)
In 1939, German citizen Georg Elser planted a bomb in a building where Adolf Hitler was making a speech in an attempt to assassinate him. The attempt was a failure and eventually led to Elser’s execution. The story leading up to the assassination attempt and some of the events that followed make for a fascinating new film titled 13 Minutes. Written by Fred Breinersdorfer, Léonie-Claire Breinersdorfer and directed by Oliver Hirschbiegel, the film tells the compelling and gripping story about Georg Elser and the events in his life which motivated him to take action.
Christian Friedel stars as Georg Elser, a very unassuming, but nevertheless passionate musician trying to make ends meet in Germany, as it slowly moves toward the brink of war under the regime of Adolf Hitler. Through Elser’s adult life, he witnesses the changes Germany undergoes and is appalled by what he is seeing. Elser sees the impoverished struggle to survive if they refuse to join the Nazi party, he witnesses the atrocities against the Jewish people as they are abused and eventually killed. He sees the inevitable destruction of his beloved country in its future and finally decides that the only solution to save his nation is to eliminate the chief cause.
Oliver Hirschbiegel has made a truly powerful and engrossing movie with 13 Minutes. Georg Elser’s story is definitely an intriguing one, but the way Hirschbiegel tells it, and the ways that writers Fred Breinersdorfer, Léonie-Claire Breinersdorfer develop the story and characters, makes him a more sympathetic and relatable character. Audiences members will find themselves rooting for Elser and his plot to destroy the embodiment of evil and will certainly feel his pain when he fails to accomplish his mission.
Christian Friedel’s portrayal of Elser as a lovable everyman also makes his character all the more empathetic. Friedel delivers a tremendous performance through some of the various stages of Elser’s life that lead directly to this fateful moment of his life. Katharina Schüttler also performs wonderfully as Elser’s lover Elsa. The movie also features solid work by Burghart Klaußner, Johann von Bülow, Felix Eitner, and much more. I honestly did not discover any weak links in this cast whatsoever.
I also did not see any flaws in the filming and presentation of this tremendous story. The direction, writing and acting are superb making this movie, perhaps, one of the better releases of this year. Fans of historical dramas will absolutely love this film, as will anyone who enjoys riveting dramas based on true events. 13 Minutes is a film not to miss.