By Jeff Walsh
I'm not exactly sure how to review "Before The Fall," a German film about a young boxer who is trained in an elite German school during World War II. Part of the problem was that is was on my stack of gay DVDs to review for Oasis, so I went in with some expectations... primarily, that it has something to do with being gay. So, let me be clear up front, there is no gay content in the movie. Nein!
That said, it was a very well put-together story about friendship and standing up for what you believe in, as well as showing how easy it is for fascism to spread unchecked. (A message that is still, sadly, needed.)
The primary story is of a young boxer that comes from a poor family. Someone sees him box and asks him to box for the German military academy, so against his parents' wishes (they are opposed to the Nazis) he goes to the school.
The major story arc is between him and a young, frail student that is the son of a German military official. The boy is training to be a soldier, but prefers writing and doesn't really seem wired for violence. The two learn and change as a result of their friendship.
So, once the frail, effete boy shows up, I was thinking, 'Oh, OK, he's the gay one.' He's not, or he never says as much. Of course, having a movie where you empathize with the gay boy who is training to be a Nazi soldier would have its own drawbacks.
But, since the movie was actually told so well, I felt I should at least mention it. Umm, there's two butt shots? Nah, that doesn't make it gay either. Oh well... still worth a look if you're into that period of history. Not to mention that it is a movie about Nazi Germany made by Germany, so that's something.