The Empty Mirror | Chicago Reader

The Empty Mirror

In his bunker but outside of historical time, Adolf Hitler (Norman Rodway) dictates his memoirs, ruminates on his life while screening various documentaries and home movies, chats with Joseph Goebbels (Joel Grey) and Hermann Göring (Glenn Shadix), hangs out with Eva Braun (Camilla Soeberg), and even has a few exchanges with Sigmund Freud (Peter Michael Goetz). The actors are skillful (Rodway was Hotspur in Orson Welles's Chimes at Midnight) and the cinematography (by Jarmusch and Lynch veteran Frederick Elmes) is resourceful; there are some attractive lap dissolves and striking montage sequences, and the found footage is integrated effectively. But the bottom line in Barry J. Hershey's first feature is whether he has anything fresh to say about Hitler, and I don't think he does. What threatens at first to become a simple vulgarization of Syberberg's Hitler, a Film From Germany evolves instead into psychobabble, and Goetz's Freud makes for a pretty wimpy Socratic figure.

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