Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Germany's Hope Is Called Tom Cruise

This title does not come from me but from German director Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck, whose "The Lives of Others" won a foreign language film Oscar!

Would you believe it?

Indeed, ahead of its release in Germany, media commentators, so keen at other time to burst a flame against Scientology, have praised Bryan Singer's film.

Such prominent media outlets as public broadcaster ZDF and the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung have given it a serious thumb up.

The ZDF was heard saying it was a "well-made and serious film" and Cruise's part "a solid performance".

Frank Schirrmacher of the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung echoed praise saying the Mission Impossible star's performance as Stauffenberg would alter the global perception of Germans.

Koelner Stadt Anzeiger added: "[The fear that] the myth of the German resistance would be put through a Hollywood filter has turned out to be wrong and prejudicial. On the contrary, the American origin of this film is its biggest advantage."

To be fair, not all reviews were uniformly positive. Such is the case, for example, of the Badische Zeitung, who wrote: "The film is well-crafted, no explosive, loud war drama but a calm, chronological tale ... the main weakness is Cruise himself, who appears in almost every scene but is stiff".

This trend among German film critics was already visible back on Dec 12., in spite of claims by the gossip tabloid Daily Mail (whose unsubstantiated rumor about Cruise "living in fear" is still being echoed by many fact checking deficient news outlets) that "the movie was given a roasting by German critics".

Yeah... roasting indeed.

In fact, not only did Cruise win an incredibly risky bet making that film, but he seems to have achieved something exceptional in Germany, totally at odd with what the Church of Scientology would do out of revenge for being considered by Germany a money-grabbing cult rather than a religion. This is worth to be commented on in future blog entries.

Now is the film a "Nazi apologia", as Fox News' Roger Friedman wrote and as Barbara Schwarz claims? Does it seek to depict a "good Nazi"? No way, quite on the contrary it seeks to show that not all Germans were Nazi-alike, and this is why German media are so supportive.

Hopefully they will also realize that, in the same way, not all Scientologists are as depicted by fanatical anti-Scientologists, and ease off on their disgraceful discrimination.

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