Look Who’s Back (2015)

Taking in account the subject matter, I was expecting a little more poignant, gut punching satire from the movie considering that the central premise here has Adolf Hitler wake up and find himself mysteriously transported to the present day Germany and due to a chain of humorous misunderstandings, we see him slowly become a popular TV star and rise into being a major political figure again due to people assuming that he is simply a comedic actor pretending to be Hitler, rather than being the real deal. It’s a very cheeky and ludicrous basis for a story and on paper had potential to do some really hard hitting satire about modern day European politics. Alas, this movie seems to be in need of some dentures because there really isn’t that much bite in anything it does. While there is some good comedy mixed into the larger story, such as segments that apparently were completely unscripted (shot with real people instead of actors) that depict Hitler talking about current day affairs nonchalantly with random citizens across Germany, ultimately the humor is very one-note and eventually you will reach a point where the Hitler joke wears out too thin and you get a bit bored with it.

There’s a heavy focus on Hitler’s charisma as a leader and ability to charm the masses and it’s easily the movie’s strongest suit. They paint a very good picture as to how Adolf Hitler was able to rise to power in the 1930s by showcasing how charismatic and bold he is and how it translated into being a very compelling orator and it works remarkably well to get across the power of Hitler’s je ne sais quoi appeal. On certain aspects the movie is very interesting examination of Hitler as a public persona, even though it is  admittedly bogged down by the comedic slant when approaching the subject. The issue that I really have with the movie is that they end up spending a majority of their time on making Hitler seem comedic, without ever properly getting around showing his more negative aspects, so he’s a bit too much of a joke when the more serious subtext is introduced. There are some antisemitic remarks made in passing by Adolf, but it’s barely noticeable because it’s played mostly as a sort of “oh that Hitler!” type of gag. It’s a German movie, so in a way it makes sense that they try avoid the more volatile subjects, like talking about the Holocaust, but you as a viewer end up being a bit annoyed by the overtly cautious approach. It’s not that I would want to see him just suddenly ignite a new violent wave of anti-antisemitism in the movie, but at least have one or two properly dark Adolf moments somewhere, to remind you what kind of a mad monster he was, instead of having everything be a butt end of joke. When the most villainous thing that Hitler does in the entire movie is to shoot a small dog after it bites him, which itself is done entirely for comedic effect, you have made him too much like a (lovable) goofball and it really hinders the part of the story that tries to show the scarier side of the concept of a figure like Hitler gaining popularity in present-day world. I know this is a comedy, but come on, even comedies can have moments of seriousness in them.

To sum it up, as a movie, this is a mixed bag. It makes me wonder if the book the movie was based on would have had slightly sharper teeth and more satisfactory experience. As someone who is very interested in the second World War, Hitler and Nazi Germany, the absurdity of the idea of Hitler redoing his old hits in current day Germany provided plenty of humorous situations and there certainly are some rather clever parallels being drawn here with the state of the 1930s Germany and the rise of the Nazi party to the current economic situation and refugee crisis, but it’s not nearly enough to support the story all the way through, so in the end you’re left with a rather mediocre plot with little actual substance.

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