13 MINUTES | REVIEW

ELSER aka 13 MINUTES is a German movie directed by Oliver Hirschbiegel that portrays the failed Hitler assassin Georg Elser. This man was a quiet solo achiever that planted a bomb to kill Hitler prior to the worst of the war. He could have saved millions BUT, Hitler left 13 minutes prior to the bomb detonating. 13 ill-timed minutes that could have changed the course of the entire world. 13 MINUTES is based on a true story, releases this Thursday 23rd July in Australia on limited art-house release from the fine folks at STUDIOCANAL, it is rated MA15+ and runs for 114mins.

 

13 minutes movie poster image
13 MINUTES | SALTY POPCORN MOVIE REVIEW | MOVIE POSTER IMAGE

 

BY JASON KING

13 MINUTES starts in 1939 with Georg Elser (Christian Friedel) laying the handiwork of his timed bomb into a wall in a large hall, below the wall is the podium where Hitler would be speaking the following day. He successfully plants his bomb and makes his way towards the Swiss border, but is stopped and caught with schematics and is suspicious so is held for questioning. While in custody news is heard that a bombing assassination on Hitler has failed but killed seven people (an eighth later dies) and injured sixty two people. But Hitler had departed 13 minutes earlier. And so begins the torture, flashbacks and story of Elser.

Elser was held for six years before being executed one month prior to the VE Day, a day that would have seen him set free. The movie is told via interrogation, torture and flashbacks into a beautiful care-free life of Georg that gradually declines into WW2, these flashbacks he enters for comfort and solace when he is being tortured.

 

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13 MINUTES | SALTY POPCORN MOVIE REVIEW | HITLER GIVING HIS SPEECH PRIOR TO THE EXPLOSION

 

In the beginning of Georg’s life we get to see some of his personality, he is an easy going musician who is also a clock-maker and a womaniser, regardless of married status if he likes the beauty of a woman he is drawn to it. As matters gradually decrease with society we see the growing Nazification of Georg’s picture-perfect hometown, Koenigsbronn and the unrest between communists and National Socialists, not long after we see Georg’s closest mate arrested and taken away to a camp and at the same time Georg continues his unhappy relationship with Elsa, who remains married to a violent drunkard coward.

In the movie’s present time we see Georg telling the truth over and over again, and showing proof of how he designed and implemented the bomb. He was a clock-maker – seems pretty straight forward to me. But despite the waning disbelief from his captor, Nebe (Burghart Klaußner), Hitler and his SS henchman fail to believe the “lone-wolf” theory and relentlessly try any means for a confession leading them to the “group” responsible, but there is no group and Georg never lies.

 

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13 MINUTES | SALTY POPCORN MOVIE REVIEW | GEORG ELSER (CHRISTIAN FRIEDEL) AND ELSA (KATHARINA SCHUTTLER)

 

You can’t help but love Georg, he is the exact German equivalent of Andy Dufresne from THE SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION. His entire persona and modus operandi are duplicates. And for this you just can’t but love him. He keeps quiet but secretly is working towards something epic, if only Georg got the same outcome. I also grew fond of captor Nebe (Burghart Klaußner). While a Nazi he was also a man of logic and regardless of political agenda he saw that all proof led to the act being solo perpetrated. And as for pure menace and evil as the Nazi epitome in the movie, SS Obergruppenfuehrer rep (Simon Licht) is a brutal political ass (totally reminds me of our current Australian Prime Minister), he does it well and respect to that.

Friedel’s acting is superb, flawless even. You may recognise him as a teacher from WHITE RIBBON. He is cool, calm, logical and methodical and I never saw a man acting, he was Georg.

 

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13 MINUTES | SALTY POPCORN MOVIE REVIEW | GEORG ELSER (CHRISTIAN FRIEDEL) AND SS OBERGRUPPENFUHER (SIMON LICHT) AFTER HAVING GEORG’S HEAD SLAMMED AGAINST A TABLE

 

Now the movie is in no way perfect, it is quite sentimental at times and there a couple of gaping wholes. 1) What happened to Elsa’s asshole husband, he just disappeared or was erased for the flow of the film, but why could he not have made life hell for Georg? 2) Why was Georg kept as a long term prisoner after his confession? Why not just kill him then? This was never explained. And to this – why does it appear he had special treatment as a prisoner? 3) Seriously WTF ending with Nebe???? No idea of that outcome besides political gain and the fact Nebe would support Georg if the war ended 4) Why was Elsa allowed to go and live a normal life?  5) What was with the female Nazi typist sympathizer? Was she completely invented for the movie? She came across as a melodramatic addition. These left me thinking after the movie, why? I wanted to know more and can only come up with one reason, a lot of the end was poetically licensed due to lack of complete knowledge.

For those 6yrs after Georg’s arrest he lived with incredible guilt for the people who were killed by his bomb, that bomb had one purpose and Georg must have known there would be collateral damage but I doubt he ever imagined there would be the collateral damage without the death of the satanic asshole.

One thing that is quite sad in the story of Georg, it wasn’t until the late 1990s that he was recognised as a hero for his efforts against the evil of WW2. It is good to see him gain some recognition now, he deserves it.

 

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13 MINUTES | SALTY POPCORN MOVIE REVIEW | GEORG ELSER (CHRISTIAN FRIEDEL) BEING INTERROGATED BY SS OBERGRUPPENFUHER (SIMON LICHT) AND NEBE (BURGHART KLAUBNER)

 

Regardless of the unanswered questions and the occasional melodrama and plot liberties I got to take my stepdad to see this and we both loved it, I shed a few tears and I totally empathised with the life of Georg Elser, you have my respect for what you tried to do for my relatives. #Hero!

 

3 and a Half Pops

 

 

Jason King is the owner and editor of Salty Popcorn and Spooning Australia. He is a movie, food, restaurant, wine, chocolate, bacon, burger and brussels sprouts addict. He is a member of the Film Critics Circle of Australia and has been in the Australian movie industry for 25yrs. He loves watching people trip over and is Leonardo DiCaprio’s secret husband. All the social media links to the right and up will allow you to abuse, troll or stalk him :).