4 Days in May
Dir.: Achim von Borries | Germany 2011 | 97 min
The starting point for this German drama is fascinating: during the last days of the war, the Russians have entered the northeastern part of Germany. The Germans, who are already feeling their impending destiny and who can feel defeat breathing down their necks, desperately try to battle on. A small division of Soviet soldiers have turned a local orphanage into their base, but they are beleaguered by a small German army that is willing to fight to the last man. '4 Days in May' is a magnificent war film, but without the genre's traditional heroes - no Brits, no Americans. On the contrary, the roles are divided among the archetypal villains, the Germans and the Russians, and they cover the entire spectrum between good and evil, with a focus on all the nuances in between. A small German boy from the orphanage seems to be the born hero of the story, but as he thoughtlessly but increasingly skilfully becomes a double agent between the beleaguered Russians and the beleaguering Germans, he becomes a fairly complex character. You might complain that one thing or another has been borrowed from 'Atonement', but one can get ones inspiration from films that are far worse.