“The German Doctor”
A family is traveling across the vast Patagonia desert in 1960 when they encounter a lone stranger (Alex Brendemuhl) traveling in his car. He makes friends with the family, and they decide to travel together, following each other to be safe. The family is headed to a small, remote resort town where they will take over an abandoned hotel. The stranger, it turns out is a doctor, who takes a liking to the couple’s small, frail daughter, Lilith (Florencia Bado).
The doctor follows the family to their hotel and convinces the family to let him stay at their place. The doctor has noticed that Lilith is much smaller than her siblings. He tells the parents that he can treat Lilith to make her grow to normal heights. The father (Diego Peretti) refuses the treatment but after her daughter is teased in school, the mother (Natalia Oreiro) reluctantly consents to treatment in secret.
Things for a while go great. Lilith begins a growth spurt, and the doctor agrees to back the husband in production of some toys. But things aren’t always as they seem, and there are rumors about the good doctor that may tie him to a Nazi past.
We know something that the parents of Lilith don’t, that the doctor isn’t just any ordinary citizen but one of the most wanted and hated men in the world, the Third Reich’s Dr. Josef Mengele. Dr. Mengele is wanted for war crimes related to the genetic testing of concentration camp prisoners. This revelation to the audience at the start of the film as we see Dr. Mengele’s detailed, very graphic notebooks concerning the genetic testing during the opening credits. This gives the film a suspenseful start, especially when we see the almost glee that the doctor exhibits when he is presented with a human to test his theories again. As an audience, we instantly want to protect Lilith and hope against hope that someone will figure out who he is before it’s too late.
Director / writer Lucia Puenzo has adapted her bestselling book and created a wonderful taut film that is based loosely on a true story. Part suspense film, part mystery, Puenzo has created an interesting world, where you can’t trust anyone, as it seems this small town is filled with people that want to help Mengele retrieve his past glories. But Mengele is also the most hunted man ever and the film uses this as just another item to create even more tension in the film.
Cinematographer Nicolas Punzo gives us a world of contrasts; the great beauty of the Patagonia resort town with its beautiful lake and rolling mountains, contrasted with the back halls and isolated factories where Mengele meets with his conspirators.
Florencia Bado is amazing as the little girl that you just want to rescue at every moment of the film. She gives an innocence that is needed for the part, someone who is so trusting with even a stranger. Alex Brendemuhl gives a magnificent performance as the evil doctor who due his good looks and piercing eyes is able to the gain the trust of the family, while he plots as possible resurgence of his evil campaign.
“The German Doctor” brings a sense of suspense and dread at the same time to the screen, due to a brilliant performance by Brendemuhl and an inspired script / direction by Puenzo. My Rating: Full Price
My movie rating system from Best to Worst: 1). I Would Pay to See it Again 2). Full Price 3). Bargain Matinee 4). Cable 5). You Would Have to Pay Me to See it Again Follow @Lastonetoleave
The film is playing exclusively in Atlanta at Tara Cinemas 4