Overbearing. Mephisto is the intricate tale of a German stage actor who gets caught up in pre-WWII Germany trying to stay one step ahead of the Nazis as he befriends them in order to keep on with his love of the theater. Unfortunately, much of the film plays out on the stage instead of behind it. Brandauer's Faust-like struggle out of the limelight is a little too dead-on as a mimic for what's happening in the foreground, and the whole affair becomes much too weighty with symbolism about the devil and the nuances of acting -- the latter of which no one really cares about.