Hitler returns in a memorable German satire, “Look Who’s Back”

lookwhosback

Just finished an amazing film on Netflix, “Look Who’s Back” — calling it a mere satire doesn’t do it justice. In it, Hitler returns, mysteriously transported to today’s Germany. And, adapting quickly to his new situation, he becomes a YouTube and TV star and general media phenomenon.

While the expected fish-out-of-water moments are there – Hitler being taught how to Google! – the film is so, so much more than this. “Hitler” — in a pitch-perfect performance by Oliver Masucci – gains huge popularity by people who see him as an ironic post-modern gag. But much of what he espouses resonates. He decries poverty and Ill-treatment of seniors. He even supports the Green Party! And thus, with no army and no need to use terror tactics, he starts winning over ordinary Germans. But, even adapted to his new reality, is his ultimate agenda any different?A key element of the film is the audacious guerrilla-style segments filmed with real people a la “Borat”. And the reactions are both funny and chilling – funny as “Hitler” takes on real-life German media figures and interviewers, but chilling as we see lots of ordinary people let their guard down, cameras rolling, most seeming to take it as a lark but many showing unabashed support for what he stands for.

It’s all seamlessly worked into the film’s very realistically presented tale, which includes a showdown between the boss of a TV station and the nebbishy reporter who “discovered” Hitler. Along the way there are twists and turns aplenty, even including a movie being made of the story we’re watching. And an ending which is not what you think it is, but which instead catapults the film, in its final moments, into a powerful warning of just how easily the smoldering fuse of prejudice could again explode.

I thought initially that, at 2 hours, a tale like this might not sustain itself, but it kept surprising me and I was happily proved wrong. I highly recommend “Look Who’s Back” — it made me both laugh and think, and has a powerful quality that leaves it lingering in my mind.

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