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Friday, October 4, 2013

"The German Doctor", Nazis in Patagonia

The German Doctor ("Wakolda" original title)

I don't know how to review this movie without spoiling it. My apologies in advance for that...

"The German Doctor" (can't understand why Spanish and Americans have chosen this silly title instead of the original "Wakolda") is supposed to be a rich and complex thriller, mixing psychological and historical elements... but the results are quite disappointing, in my opinion. 

Maybe is the attempt of mixing suspense with Bariloche's mesmerizing, idyllic surroundings and its quiet community. Or maybe is the contrast between the familiar lifestyle and the international hunting of Nazi physician Josef Mengele, but after a short while I had the feeling something wasn't going well in the development of the movie. The pieces doesn't seem to fit.

To my view, the major flaw is the lack of credibility of the script. There's no mystery whatsoever. Haven't read the novel, "Wakolda", written by the movie director Lucía Puenzo, on which the film is based, but at least on screen, is hard to understand why the family, particularly the father, takes so long to realise what's going on, and who is his unique guest. Sorry to spoil it to you, but I'm just trying to be clear: is he stupid? Don't he realise almost everyone around him is a Nazi? I seriously believe that this film should have been entitled "Nazis in Patagonia" instead, because there's little subtlety about it on the place. Starting from this point, the intrigue was minimum, appearing so many little plot-holes (Eva, Lilith's mother and her behaviour. the whole thing with the school, the photographer/librarian role) that didn't help either.

The most remarkable in "The German Doctor" is Alex Brendemühl's (one of the best Spanish actors without a doubt) performance as Mengele, and his noteworthy, at times fascinating, portray of someone who is obsessed with genetics as a tool to create a perfect race, and the troubled relation he develops with Lilith (magnetic presence of Florencia Baldo). Natalia Oreiro and Diego Peretti are also solid in their roles as Eva and Enzo, Lilith parents, but as I said before, the problem is that their roles aren't helped by the script. It is sad, as Puenzo has an undeniable talent with the camera on her hands, creating scenes where the contrast between beautiful scenery and the terrible things that are happening (or happened) impacts the audience, plus a potentially absorbing subject. But elements didn't quite combine this time. 

SCORE: 5,25/10

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