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Orders from Above

Australia 2021
produced by
Vir Srinivas
directed by Vir Srinivas
starring Richard Cotter, Peter J. Donnelly, Darrell Hoffman, Emmanuel Drakakis
written by Vir Srinivas

review by
Mike Haberfelner

Available on DVD !

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In 1960, Adolf Eichmann (Peter J. Donnelly), one of the chief organisers of the holocaust during World War II, was captured by the Mossad in Argentina and quickly flown to Israel to stand trial for his crimes against humanity and against the Jews in the Third Reich in particular. But the Israeli gouvernment wants to avoid a show trial at all costs, as that would put them on no higher moral ground than the Nazis, so Chief Inspector Avner Less (Richard Cotter) is sent to Eichmann's secret holding place, a rundown motel, to interrogate the man and prove his guilt beyond a doubt, make him admit his deeds. The person Less finds is not the monster he might have expected but a rather pathetic old man who constantly complains about the atrocities he had to witness in concentration camps that were carried out under his command, but claims he only carried out orders from above and reduces himself to a small cog in the machine, a transportation officer at best.  Less's interrogations drag on and on, so much so that his superiors get itchy and try to coerce him into forging some of Eichmann's statements, but Less insists on going the straight and narrow, and eventually, with evidence from back in the day, and transcripts of statements from the Nürnberg trials as well as film material from concentration camps, he breaks down Eichmann's defenses, makes him contradict himself, and admit the enormity of what he has done - even if Eichmann fails to show remorse ...

 

Now I can't independently verify how close this film stays to the actual interrogation of Adolf Eichmann, but I do know what he says in this film is pretty consistant with his statements in Eichmann's trial in 1961, likewise is Peter J. Donnelly pretty much on point with his portrayal - and above all, this is of course and actors' movie, and both Donnelly and Cotter give great performances, have a good chemistry with one another, and really make one feel that the film is much more than basically just one extended dialogue at one location (even if there are several short scenes outside Eichmann's motel room to break up the situation a bit). And the direction is subtle enough to give the actors their space, but does its best to keep things interesting on a visual level. So basically a pretty impressive watch - but one word of warning, the authentic film material from a concentration camp is rather hard to swallow (as it should be of course), so maybe not a film for the faint hearted.

 

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review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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Tales to Chill
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On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide
WHICH IS WORSE!!!

 

A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
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starring
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out now on DVD