Ugly American…Movie?

movieposterI know, right?  Another movie post?  Don’t worry, I won’t spend this one swooning over Tom Cruise *shudder* like I did over Robert Pattinson.  But last night Anne-Mai (my new movie buddy) and I went over to Potsdamer Platz to see Valkyrie.  I really wanted to see it while I was here in Berlin, for obvious reasons.  The theater at Potsdamer is sweet not only because they sell beer and wine at the concession stand or because it’s kinda fancy and has a big red curtain that opens and closes in between the trailers and the feature presentation.  Another plus is that they show most movies in their original language, meaning I don’t have to suffer through subtitles (I dare you to try NOT reading them) or worse, dubbing in German!  Anyway, the downside (or up, depending on who you talk to) is that the place is crawling with foreigners…like me.  I really wanted to watch Valkyrie while sitting amongst a sea of well-dressed, beer sipping, intellectual Germans who would loudly discuss the movie afterwards (and I would somehow magically understand them).  Instead, I had three American gay guys in front of me and an Asian girl who sounded SO Californian sitting behind me.  Another clue that she was from L.A. was that she was bragging about knowing some guy who had a bit part in the movie.  But there was a grumpy German guy next to me, so I guess that’s something.  (I was totally scared of him…before the movie started, he yelled at the guy behind him for kicking his seat.  So later, I was afraid he would yell at me for eating my apple too loudly – I waited for loud explosions in the movie to take small, furtive bites.)

Anyway, what’s my take on the movie, you ask?  Well, I actually thought it was really good.  Definitely suspenseful and action-packed and all, but I felt like it was a meaningful experience to watch it while living in Germany.  I’ve only been here for two weeks, but I’ve been preparing for this trip and praying for Germany for months now.  I feel like I’ve connected my heart to the people as I’ve prayed for their healing as a nation and for their future.  The movie was really eye-opening to me because I had no idea that this had even happened.  I knew that there were assassination attempts on Hitler during his reign, but I always assumed these were lone zealots on crazy suicide missions, not large groups of powerful politicians and military men creating an organized resistance.  Most of us know that many Germans disagreed with what was happening, but I think it is so good for the world to see many sacrificed their lives standing up to the atrocities of Hitler’s regime.  My main complaint about the movie (besides casting Tom Cruise as the lead) was that the cast did not use German accents.  First, it was just confusing.  Dude, this guy’s American, this guy’s British…what’s the deal?  Second, it was kind of a silver screen example of the Ugly American.  We can’t even be bothered to take on German accents for a movie set in Germany with all German characters?  Third, and most importantly, I think it was actually vital for the cast to use German accents because such an important part of the movie was that it was Germans rising up for Germany, not any outside sources (ahem, like Allies with American and British accents).  I had to keep reminding myself during the movie that the “good guys” were actually German.  Which I think was kind of an important theme in the film.  I wonder how Germans felt about it?

Anyway, there was one line in the movie that was so powerful, when they were referencing the story of Sodom and Gomorrah, and how God would have spared Sodom if He had found just ten righteous men dwelling in it.  In the movie, they say that for Germany, it might have to come down to one righteous man.  Something inside me wanted to say, “Amen!” (I refrained for fear of the grouchy German on my left).  But seriously, I did want to say, “Look!  God DID spare Germany!”  He saw all of the righteous people here who loved Him and His ways.  He had grace on the country even after what happened to His people there.  He didn’t wipe them out, He wants to bind up their broken hearts and heal their wounds.

Like I said, it was powerful.  And at the end of the movie, everyone kind of just sat in stunned silence for a few minutes while the credits rolled.  It felt so heavy in the theater, and I wondered what the Germans were thinking.  Was that regret in the air?  Sorrow for what their fathers and grandfathers had done or not done?  Were they feeling hope for “sacred Germany” to return to her glorious state again, or were they scared to even hope it, content to settle for not making any waves.  I don’t know.  But I want to get to know more Germans during my time here and understand more of how they work and think and dream.

Sorry this is kind of my first real post about Germany…I plan on a “First Impressions of Berlin” post…someday soon.


2 thoughts on “Ugly American…Movie?

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  1. How cool that you got to see that movie in Germany! I liked it too, but me and Justin saw Defiance (I know we see a lot of movies, but its cold here and not much else to do) Anyway, Defiance was such a great movie! One of the best I’ve seen for awhile!


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