By Diamond Victoria
It’s 2014, Adolf Hitler wants to make Germany great again but the citizens of Berlin would rather take selfies with – than take offense to – the former Führer of Nazi Germany. This is the premise of David Nendt’s film, “Look Who’s Back” (Er Ist Wieder Da), starring Oliver Masucci and released in 2015. The comedy is based on the novel of the same name, written by Timur Vermes. Awakening 70 years later in the exact spot where he supposedly committed suicide, a perfectly silhouetted Hitler (Masucci) stumbles through the streets of Berlin, catching the attention of many along his way.
Hitler narrates throughout the film, allowing audiences to gain a clearer understanding of his plight. This hashes out any confusion in the first few minutes when he simply appears in some bushes near a garden.
Passersby mistake the uniformed Hitler as a busker performing standup comedy on the street. In one scene, he asks a mime outdated questions regarding the war and where he can find Joseph Goebbels, his former right-hand man and Nazi propaganda master. The mime tells him to find his own spot on the street to perform and shoves the disoriented Führer away. Hitler, complete with the infamous moustache and the combed over hairstyle, is without a doubt the funniest character in the film because he’s not trying to be. Masucci’s dialogue and mannerisms flow smoothly with stern words and a taut posture.
He stumbles to a newsstand and is more and more confused as to why the citizens of Berlin are unaware of who he is. His luck changes, however, when he meets Fabian Sawatzki (Fabian Busch), a down-on-his-luck video journalist looking to scoop a story to keep his job.
The unlikely pair travel through Germany. Sawatzki films Hitler speaking to residents of different towns and gains traction as a potential political leader. “Look Who’s Back” highlights the charisma that garnered Hitler his original popularity in 1933, showing how it could potentially unfold today.
What’s interesting and perhaps a little off-putting, is the likelihood of audiences feeling a fondness for the charming Hitler. His ignorance of the modern world comes across playful and innocent. One scene that particularly conveys this feeling is when Kromeier (Franziska Wulf), Sawatzki’s co-worker, explains Google to a very giddy Hitler. Sawatzki reports to Christoph Sensenbrink (Christoph Maria Herbst) at media conglomerate MyTV. Sensenbrink is less than thrilled by the contemporary comedian but is forced to see his fame through.
Sensenbrink ironically begins to act like the real Hitler by sabotaging Sawatzki’s career. Eventually Hitler amasses celebrity status and stars in a film following his modern life. The film ends with a celebrated and decorated Hitler sitting as passenger in a car, waving at adoring fans.
That final scene shows images of real-life modern warfare, the consequences of fascism and circa 1933 footage of Hitler speaking to his followers transposed on his face. “Look Who’s Back” has recently been added to Netflix’s catalogue and has earned a 7.1 out of 10 rating on imdb.com. Despite the film’s comedy, it’s obvious Nendt and Vermes set out to show the dangerous reality of Hitler, or someone like him, potentially gaining power today and how easily allure and charisma can affect history for the worse.
Rating: Four out of five “Diamonds”