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In 1936, the Nazi party was fervently demonstrating its superiority to the rest of the world. Turning its attention toward the "unclimbable" North Face of the Eiger, German officials commissioned two competing teams to conquer the treacherous rock wall. The ascent goes smoothly at first, but an accident brings the teams together, forcing them to battle the elements in an exhilarating race against time.
North Face is a men vs. mountain adventure so harrowing and gripping that, as with the doomed sailors in Das Boot, one almost forgets that the bruised, battered, and frostbitten climbers we're urging onward are Nazis. Toni Kurz (Benno Fürmann) and Andi Hinterstoisser (Florian Lukas) are cocky mountaineers who "will scale anything that's tall." In 1936 they are prevailed upon to climb the unconquered 13,000-foot north face of the Eiger, "the death wall" and "the last problem of the Alps," as a heroic and glorious prelude to the Berlin Olympic Games. Toni and Andi are not true believers (they ignore greetings of "Heil Hitler" as they quit the Bavarian Mountain Brigade). They've got company on their treacherous quest, two Austrian climbers. As long as North Face sticks to the mountain, it is viscerally thrilling and grueling. But the movie adds unnecessary baggage, a romantic subplot. Why is there a love story? Because it's there. Johanna Wokalek costars as Luise, an aspiring photojournalist and Toni's former girlfriend, who is covering the story with her boss, a Nazi sympathizer whose paper is a cog in the propaganda machine. Based on a true story, North Face has a you-are-there immediacy and authenticity (the cinematography was honored with Germany's equivalent of the Academy Award) that transcends any dramatic missteps. --Donald Liebenson
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Top Customer Reviews
This is the true story of one of these attempts.In 1936 the Nazi's sent climbers to scale the mountain hoping that the first to climb the north face would be Germans.This is one of the most suspensful movies I have ever seen.The movie is very realistic and while watching this movie I wondered how they filmed it as the realism and great acting is amazing.Make sure your popcorn is made in advance as you will not want to miss one moment of this film.It is in German with subtitles.
The cinematography and the CGI is remarkably beautiful, awe-inspiring, scary and just plain jaw-droppingly unreal. On the DVD extras you get a great look at how the visual effects were done. There's no lengthy boring technical explanation by talking heads. They just show onscreen how layers and backgrounds are painted in as well as snow and wind. It's mindblowing technology and kudos to the visual effects co. Lugungtrug.
The acting also elevates (excuse the pun) what is a basic story--men climb mountain, mountain wins, men lose. The buildup to the climb shows us the lives of the two German mountaineers, Toni Kurz (Benno Furmann) and Andreas Hinterstoisser (Florian Lukas), in their small Bavarian village, Berchtesgarden, that is home to a Nazi mountain brigade (and of course Hitler's summer home) that the two are reluctantly a part of in 1936...until they quit the army and decide to "attack" the Eiger.
The other tangent is of newspaper reporters in Berlin who follow the story on the ground and actually on the mountain due to the photographer, Luise (Johanna Wokalek), and her relationship with the climbers as she grew up in the same village. The love story that develops works as Luise transforms herself over the course of the movie from a wide-eyed gopher at the Berlin newspaper offices to a talented photojournalist who sees clearly her future, the future of her nation and that of her mountaineering friends as all intertwined in the politics of the time. Yet the director never lets the politics overwhelm the story.
Back to the filming.Read more ›
in a very long time, my eyes was so fixated to the T.V. screen to see how it’s outcome would end,
I wish I could see a lot more reviews of movies of this nature, especially the ones with subtitles,
it’s either those top 10 or top 50 reviewers are slow readers, or don’t think outside the box,
it’s like mundane mundane mundane, one after the other, how could you not see the depth and the beauty,
of a fine piece of film-making, with tense cinematic drama to it’s fullest, I’m going to forget everything German,
I know it’s hard to say, but for two hours, I am going to immerse myself in this spellbinding masterpiece of a movie,
and a love story like no other, risking her life out on that mountain for two of her friends, when all the odds
are against you, which was inspired by her presence of making these men did what the did, don’t know if it was guilt,
or the realization of the bad outcome, there wasn't one bad moment to this masterpiece, of moviemaking ever,
I remember one movie that I saw long ago, called “The Mountain” with “Spencer Tracy” and “Robert Wagner”
when the plane crashed on the mountain, can’t remember what the name of the mountain was,
they had to go see if anyone was alive, their was debate of why it was too dangerous to climb the mountain,
at that time, that was tense, now that I’ve seen this, this one takes precedence over that one, great movie,
Runtime 121 Min.
German 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio. Subtitle in English.
One Of The Best Mountain Climbing Movies, With A Love Story Too..
The story is inspired by true events and follows the historical facts very closely. There is great attention to detail, right down to the climbing tools, in recreating this pre-WWII Germany period piece. The acting is excellent across the board and all the characters - from the climbers to the journalists to the bourgeois snobs - are engaging and well developed. The production values rival any Hollywood film and both the direction and cinematography are outstanding.
Despite a running time of over 2 hours, the film doesn't feel that long as the pacing is quick and the drama that unfolds is so suspenseful that at some point, my heart was racing and I actually felt exhausted. The viewer is right up there with the climbers, who are fighting danger, fatigue, and extreme cold at every crevice.
If you like edge-of-your-seat, human versus nature adventure, you won't want to miss this one!
Most recent customer reviews
I had never watched a movie with subtitles before and didn't expect to enjoy the movie. I quickly got use to reading the dialogue. Read morePublished 8 months ago by J.G.
According to reviews this was given a 5 star rating which was way overrated in my opinion. The quality of film was so poor half of the movie you could barely see and the acting was... Read morePublished 17 months ago by rosalind thompson
Not one moment of "filler". A fantastic true story from believeable and very compitent actors. I expect that this movie will be "Americanized" in the near future but I am skeptical... Read morePublished on June 10 2011 by rotoron