The People vs. Fritz Bauer

TIFF 2015: The People vs. Fritz Bauer Review

Contemporary World Cinema

To say that the landscape of post-World War II Germany was a complicated one would be an understatement. The People vs. Fritz Bauer follows a familiar procedural arc, but this historical drama wants to bring down one of history’s most infamous villains while giving viewers a fragile social view. Traditional ideals and forward thinking concepts end up colliding and are illustrated in some very good performances.

In a late 1950s West Germany that is beginning to flourish, while also becoming more apathetic about confronting the horrors of the past, there is Attorney General Fritz Bauer (Burghart Klaussner) – a lawyer resolute in bringing those responsible for the horrible atrocities of the Nazi Party to justice. With a very promising clue and his associate Karl Angermann (Ronald Zehrfeld) firmly in tow, they have to navigate a corrupt legal system that still has a lot of the Nazi old guard in place and out to protect itself. Faced with the unthinkable, these men have to betray their country and themselves in order to find justice.

Writer/director Lars Kraume lets the history play out as we get two powerful leading performances to sell the message and bring it home. Both Klaussner and Zehrfeld play their parts to perfection as driven but secretive men in a time where not everyone is ready to have their cards laid out on the table.

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The People vs. Fritz Bauer is historical drama with a genuinely human bent. It works exceptionally well as it’s finally time for Germans to tell these stories.

Screens

SEP 13 6:00PM @ Scotiabank #1
SEP 15 2:15PM @ The Bloor Hot Docs Cinema
SEP 18 6:45 PM @ Scotiabank #1

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Dork Shelf's TIFF 2015 Guide

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