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Review: "Fuehrer Ex" (Poison Heart)
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Cory Chaos
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Review: "Fuehrer Ex" (Poison Heart)

Set in the last 1980's, Heiko and Tommy, two teenaged boys from East Berlin, are tiring of their oppression, courtesy of Germany's "Iron Curtain". In a daring attempt to fulfill their dreams of venturing off to Australia, the two are seized at the border and subsequently thrown into a slummy, nearby communist prison. Tommy, the ruffian of the two, finds his niche immediately amongst the incarcerated, while Heiko takes on a whole new leash on life, finding refuge in the prisons Nazi sympathizers. Having his eyes opened by his Neo-Nazi brethren, Heiko's thirst grows stronger, and upon his release, plans to unleash his fury on an unsuspecting Germany.

Those of you that could stomach "American History X" will appreciate the disturbing plausibility in this autobiographical account of the screenwriter, Ingo Hasselbach. It delves deep into Hasselbach's psyche, literally throwing you into Heiko's adopted facist lifestyle. Accounts of prison rape, the unrelenting approach to their lives the Nazi contingent shared, the bloodshed, the great escape, Heiko's ever distant, heartwrenching relationships with family and friends were all there. As gripping and surreal as possible.

It's hard to find flaws or discredit an autobiography, having no real idea of the writers personal turmoil other than what is in the film. That said, the subject material is extremely hard. Male rape scenes, never undermining the harsh realities of prison life, coupled with the unsettling scenes of violence brought on by the oppressed peoples of the Iron Curtain and neo-Nazi groups.

All of which made the film all too real, almost too real to deny that they all really took place. My only complaint is that at times, the depiction of prison life seemed a little too hammed up, pertaining to the sexual deviation. It was at times uncomfortable, and I was left wishing that a little more of the neo-Nazi underground and their philosophy had been prominant, as it was promoted as a major factor of the movie, but not delivering. "American History X" sufficed in that area, in comparison.

The respective actors took to their roles like fish to water, getting across every piece of the emotional spectrum. Anger, frustration, hate, fury, solace, all encompassed by a pair of bright German actors in Christian Blumel and Aaron Hildebrand. No complaints here, as their performances kept me intrigued, as if they had lived the story themselves. Supporting characters also lent a hand in the eerie plausibility in the tribulations of Ingo.

The film is unrated, and rightfully so, and the DVD version is in German, with English subtitles.

Brutally, and incredibly realistic, powerful, and altogether heartbreaking, "Fuehrer Ex" comes with high recommendation, and a 7.5/10 rating.

Last edited by Cory Chaos on Jan 24th, 2005 at 04:29 AM

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