Writer Bernd Eichinger and director Oliver Hirschbiegel recount the last days of the Third Reich, with a haggard, wild-eyed Hitler (a superb Bruno Ganz) stumbling dazed from room to room in his honeycombed bunker, by turns ordering counterattacks by forces that no longer exist and fuming that the German people deserve to die for losing his war. The story’s been told before (most memorably, perhaps, in the TV movie The Bunker
, with Anthony Hopkins as Hitler) but never better than here. Based partly on the memoirs of Hitler’s secretary (played by Alexandra Maria Lara), the film alternates between the increasingly claustrophobic bunker and the increasingly chaotic streets of Berlin, with children battling the advancing Russian tanks. It’s a harrowing look at the wages of loyalty to purest evil.