Fuehrer Ex Movie Review

If you think American Neo-Nazis are scary, you should see what their German counterparts are like. In Fuehrer Ex, two aimless and angry East Berlin teens mope through the final years of the East German state and make some disastrous decisions in search of freedoms that history is about to hand them anyway. If only they had been a bit more patient.

Heiko (Christian Blumel) and Tommy (Aaron Hildebrand) are best friends so intent on getting time off from their boring jobs that they injure each other to get sick leave. In their free time they drink beer on the roof of a crumbling Stalinist apartment block, and Tommy lays out his plan to escape to Australia. Heiko, the less daring of the duo, thinks it's a crazy idea, and the plan is put on hold when Tommy is arrested for setting fire to an East German flag and packed off to prison.

When Tommy returns, something has changed. It turns out he's been listening to the Aryan Brotherhood in prison, and they've convinced him that the only cure for the dying German society is a return to the good old days when Hitler kept everything humming along at an efficient clip. Heiko isn't much interested, but he does have new interest in the escape plan to Australia. He tells Tommy he'll come along for the adventure.

Bad idea. A faulty map leads the two directly to a well-guarded border crossing, and they're quickly arrested and put in jail. Tommy rejoins his Aryan brothers, but the reluctant Heiko must be convinced to see things their way through systematic rape and brutality. By the time the two are released again, they've each undergone a personality shift.

It's at this point the film starts to feel less than credible. It's hard to believe that the sweet-natured Heiko will turn out to be an effective leader of the East Berlin Nazi underground, and it's equally hard to believe that Tommy will all of a sudden become a warm and fuzzy mensch. As the gang hits the streets to stir up trouble and bang heads, you can pretty much guess who's going to come out unscathed and who isn't.

What makes the film so sad is that Tommy is absolutely right about the dying East German government, and the freedom he wants is just around the corner, but he has no way of knowing it. Both he and Heiko waste time and energy on an impossible revolution that turns out to be totally unnecessary. How ironic, and how tragic.

Yet Fuehrer Ex doesn't do quite enough with its two leads. A subplot involving a pretty young girl the two battle over is interesting but ultimately unnecessary, and with little to go on about their upbringing, it's hard to understand why they turn out to be so totally disaffected with the only government they've ever known.

Aka Führer Ex, Fuhrer Ex.

Comments

Fuehrer Ex Rating

" Weak "

Rating: NR, 2002

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