Thirteen minutes … that’s how close a bomb made by a man named Georg Elser came to possibly killing Adolf Hitler in 1939. Had Elser succeeded, the history of the world would’ve been forever altered in unimaginable ways. Many of us have often played the time machine game where we ask ourselves and friends, “If you had a time machine, what would you do?” The most common answer to that game is probably something along the lines of “Go back in time, kill Hitler.” Elser was the living embodiment of that time machine game answer, and he almost succeeded in taking out the evil dictator before he sent Germany to ruins. 13 Minutes, the latest from director Oliver Hirschbiegel, is a biopic on Elser (well played by Christian Friedel). It ruminates on his possible motivations for the assassination attempt, while exploring what was surely a vicious and awful interlude with physical and psychological torture after his bomb missed its target and killed eight people. It’s Hirschbiegel’s second feature focusing on Hitler, and while it isn’t as powerful as Downfall, which studied a panicky Hitler in his final days, it’s still an occasionally fascinating piece of work. With 13 Minutes, Hirschbiegel has created bookend movies for the Holocaust horrors brought about by Nazi Germany. This movie deals with the buildup to the war, while Downfall dealt with the last paranoiac days. I’m sure watching the two films in succession would be a powerful experience, but I’m going to put that one off for a little while. I’ve had enough of Nazis and bullheaded political rallies these last couple of months.

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