DVD Review: The German Doctor
The German Doctor for me was a bit of a gamble, I’ve been burnt many times hanging my hopes of those few words…”Based on an incredible true story”. But this time the gamble paid off, even if the film was excruciatingly slow to take off. The German Doctor is based on the true story of a very small section of Josef Mengele’s fugitive life in South America. Here he manages to attach himself to an naive Argentine family who are trying to establish a boarding house overlooking a stunning mountain lake.
The brilliant thing about The German Doctor is that whilst we know that the German Doctor is a war criminal, we’re not sure what he’s up to. For all intense purposes he appears to be helping out the family he has decided to settle with. It’s just a little creepy to see him taking detailed notes and sketches in his book.
But things seem to be going well, his treatment for the couple’s pre-teen daughter seem to be working, and his contacts allow the father’s dream of producing an original doll with a beating heart come to fruition. But at what cost? In a visit to the factory to see production, we get to see row upon row of identical, blue eyed and blond dolls awaiting completion. It’s a chilling nod to Nazisms attempt to created the idea human race.
As the film proceeds we realise that the doctor does have ulterior motives, but still he seems to be wanting to help the family, especially in their time of extremer need. And indeed, it’s part of the films moral questioning that the doctor does indeed help the family, and without him, their would have been tragedy. But the true horror, the self obsessive nature of Mengel isn’t revealed until the stunning and horrific conclusion of the film.
Alex Brendemühl plays a decidedly creepy doctor in a true Jekyll and Hyde role, that is perfectly offset by Florencia Bado, playing the innocent pre-teen daughter, and first obsession of Mengel.
The fact that this tale of subtle horror is played against the backdrop of some truly stunning scenery makes for a lovely contraction to what is being played out on screen.
Rating: M Violence.