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22 of 24 people found the following review helpful
The theme of "Fatherland" is imaginative, and constitutes one of the best "alternate history" scenario stories I have ever come across. Without giving away any spoilers, it is simple: the Normandy invasion of France is an utter failure, and Nazi Germany ultimately becomes the master of Europe, as America turns away from the European war to concentrate on defeating Japan. By 1960, the "Cold War" between Germany "Germania" (still ruled by the 75 year-old Adolf Hitler) and the United States is in full swing. The novel is set in Berlin. The plot centers on a political murder being investigated by Sturmbahnfuhrer Xavier March, of the German SS Criminal Police. More would be telling.
This is a very well done film, and I agree with some of the other reviewers that this film is even better than the book. (By the way, the book is superb as well, and also merits five stars). This is one of those wonderful films in which the musical score adds an extra dimension to the mood, and Gary Chang deserves kudos for his work here. Rutger Hauer turns in an outstanding performance as Xavier March, once again proving that this underrated actor is a considerable talent. Overall this movie absolutely convinces the viewer about how our world might have been. And thank God is not.
I trust that this superb film will soon be available on DVD.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on August 25, 2006
D-day had failed. Kennedy is president, Joseph sr. that is, not John. Hitler is about to celebrate his 75th birthday. That was all the exposition I needed. It's springtime for Hitler in Germainia. We lost. It is the early 60's & the cold war has taken a hard left turn from what we know happen. The Germans are still fighting the Russians. Hitler wants a peace treaty with The United States. It is about to happen. President Kennedy is coming to Berlin & bringing a lot of reporters. One problem: the Final Solution, what we now know as the Holocaust has never been made public. Any living officials with first hand knowledge are being bumped off. One of these murders becomes public & has to appear to be investigated. SS officer March (Rutger Hauer) is the police detective assigned to sweep it all under the rug. He is a sympathetic Nazi with a conscience & a throughly brain-washed young son. At this point, the SS become the good guys & the Gestapo, as usual the criminals, covering up. An American reporter, Charlie (Miranda Richardson) gets wind of what she sees as the story of her career. Nuff said. The tone & mood of this movie is how victorious, post war, Nazi Germany might have been. A repressive facist regime to be sure but also a bit mellowed. It was made for tv but never even made it to dvd. It is an entertaining alternative history movie.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on February 2, 2000
This is a very chilling and vivid tale of the world in an alternate historical path; What if Hitler had been the victorious hero and lived to see his vision of the Third Reich come to fruition for the rest of Europe and possibly the world ! With this in mind, Fatherland is a true suspense thriller with awesome actors and a believable 60's set design and nostalgic, yet somewhat futuristic wardrobe ( although the film's events take place in an alternate past). Rutger Hauer is one of today's most underappreciated actors and Miranda Richardson is very convincing as an American journalist. The most disturbing role of all is played by Jean Marsh as an extremely bitter Nazi actress; Listen to a very chiling line about the "resettling" of the Jews. This one particular line is very shocking and haunting ! It serves as the underlying basis for the plot in this film.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
"Fatherland" is a brilliant "alternate history" story that features a bravo performance by Rutger Hauer. The scenario is simple: the Allied landings at Normandy failed, and Germany comes to dominate Europe in a superstate known as "Germania." The US was triumphant over Japan, America is the other world superpower, in a Cold War with Germania. The story is set in 1960s Germania.

This is essentially a fascinating detective story. Old-line retired Nazi leaders are being murdered just as US President Joseph P. Kennedy is about to visit Germania on Hitler's 75th birthday. The Kennedy visit is seen as the end of the Cold War and the start of "Detente." Is there a connection? No spoilers here, but the ending has punch.

This is a wonderful film, featuring superb acting, a riveting story, and a wistful, melancholy setting that is hard to describe. The superb musical score by Gary Chang tremendously adds to the atmospherics of this film. The frightening thing about this story is its plausibility. Had Hitler not been incompetent as a war leader, this alternate history might indeed be the world we are living in.

Why, oh why, is this film not available on DVD? I believe that it would be snapped up by many discerning movie aficionados. RJB.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on January 6, 2006
I'm really wondering if the 1st reviewer actually saw the movie, since he got so many of the movie "pre-history" setting facts wrong.

The time is 1964, and a new US President (Joseph Kennedy Sr.) has just been elected. It was HIS voice, among others, that convinced the US to withdraw from Europe after the disasterous failure of the Normandy invasion. The US then concentrated on beating the Japanese, while a humiliated Eisenhower sunk into obscure retirement, and Churchill died in exile in Canada.

Germany has conquered all of Europe, including Britain, and Europe west of the Russian-Polish border is at peace. But the war still rages on against the Soviets, still led by the aging Stalin.

Hitler desperately needs to sign a peace treaty with the United States, to get help to beat the Russians once and for all, and invites Kennedy to Berlin for Hitler's 75th birthday gala.

Meanwile, old-guard Nazi Party ex-leaders are quietly being murdered....

The plot - and this is essentially a mercilessly taut detective story - revolves around the efforts of SS policeman Rutger Hauer (who is just a "cop" and NOT the leader of the SS) and an American newspaperwoman to uncover just who is killing the old leaders... and why.

Well acted and plotted, this thoughtful and thought-provoking movie has a climax and an ending that are both emotional and "right." Rutger Hauer is perfect as the SS policeman, and the movie showcases acting talents that I did not realize that he had!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on December 30, 2010
I really enjoyed this movie on VHS but I'm waiting/hoping for a DVD release because the tape is starting to wear out in a few places. Rutger Hauer has never been one of my favorite actors so I was genuinely surprised when I was sucked into this alternate history thriller.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on March 6, 2013
The first person to review this film got many of the facts wrong, but the other reviewers were fairly accurate on the story line. What was so very interesting was how the "propaganda ministry" in "Germania" could take film footage and twist it to whatever interpretation they wanted. Having visited Cold War Berlin, I found that the sets were fairly accurate. The designers went into lavish detail to make sure everything in the background was as it would have been had Hitler and the Nazis won the war.

The Stasi (Staatsicherheitspolizei) in the film was far from laid back and the boy that played Rutger Hauer's son was absolutely perfect in showing the brainwashing that really was done during the communist era. The boy's behavior, although so unexpected to anyone in modern day US, was quite predictable and normal for that type of society. The SS was gone, but the East German Stasi was equally bad and the Junge Pioniere for children specialized in brainwashing young minds. Having wandered around parts of East Berlin and East Germany, I saw the false fronts on buildings and stores, the empty shelves, the many propaganda posters, and heard the many tales of the indoctrination of the communist agenda into young children who were taught to spy on their parents and neighbors and to report any "undesireables". This movie gets it all down to perfection. The realizations of Albert Speer's designs for the "New Berlin" were brilliant. It is a great "what if?" film (and book) just as good any day as "The Boys in Brazil" and "Passenger to Frankfurt". I check regularly to see if the slow poke producers in Hollywood finally have decided to release this on dvd. Have been sadly disappointed so far.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on September 4, 2013
I bought this on Amazon and was duped again by bogus reviews. The picture quality is poor because in order to save ten-cents' worth of tape, it was recorded at LP instead of SP. The first two minutes explains how Germany won the war and shows Germania. From here it's all downhill. Many very neat SS uniforms and Rutger Hauer constantly walking through offices while carrying his full briefcase; we never get to know what's inside. There is a foreboding of an ominous occurrence which ludicrously turns out to be the discovery of the Holocaust. The year has to be 1964, since Hitler is 75. We are supposed to believe that the Holocaust was kept a secret until then, and that U.S. President Joe Kennedy was ignorant of it, and is convinced of it by a few pictures. Incomprehensibly and with no explanation, we are told that the Third Reich collapsed because the U.S, withdrew its support.

There is an abundance of Mercedes Heckflosse (tailfins) models, which were made in 1966. President Joe Kennedy seems to be riding in a 1959 Cadillac, which is at least not an anachronism. Hitler is riding in a Rolls-Royce, which he would never do, since loved Mercedes-Benz.

The hurried unveiling of the plot in the last few minutes elicited groans especially when the hackneyed device of the Nazi son betraying his father is iterated; his mother is never shown. Perhaps the budget could not be stretched to include another actress. The denouement is so rapid that I got the impression that the producers feared that the tape was running out. I would prefer a tour of the architecture of Hitler's Germania as constructed by Albert Speer recorded at Standard Speed to this banal, trite, non-credible fiasco.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on August 9, 2014
Fatherland is a great movie that is highly underrated.

I read the novel and there are a few notable differences between the two; however, both are great stories that have thrilling plot that will keep you attached from beginning to end - even though due to our history we already know the outcome.

A very good mystery story to start out with before emerging neck deep into the alternate world of a victorious Third Reich. This story (including the novel) is one of the biggest middle fingers to the Third Reich that I have ever seen and it does it in such a subtle way that still managed to keep you guessing what will happen next to all the characters involved.

I just wish this was on the dvd, as it would be a must buy on my list; until then I guess I will just have to enjoy the novel and hope that this makes it into an obtainable media format other than VHS.

Overall this is a must see for anyone that has not seen it.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on January 29, 2000
This movie is a great cinematic release of the origional text. The book is, by far, better than the film, however the film paints a vivid, picture of what Nazi Germany would look like if it had lived to the 1960's - with color video and sound. Excellent viewing, recommended. A+ for HBO.
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