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North Face DVD Movie Review: Great German Foreign Film Rating

Updated on April 23, 2011

Summary of North Face (no spoilers here)

North Face is a 2008 German Foreign film about two climbing teams, one Austrian and one German, racing to the top of the North Face - an impossible to climb Swiss mountain face referred to as The Eiger.

The movie is set during pre-World War Two, just before the Berlin Olympics. The importance of this climb is paramount to the Nazi party, who wishes to announce to the world during the upcoming Olympics that Germans were the first to ever summit the North Face.


North Face is a pretty solid movie. The only character I recognized was Benno Furmann who starred in another great foreign war film, Merry Christmas. The acting was flawless.

The movie focuses heavily on the German team. The characters of the German team are developed well enough that you really care about them as the ascend the North Face of The Eiger.

For mountaineering enthusiasts, there is plenty of mountain climbing to keep you smiling... and on the edge of your seat. For those of us who do not climb, the movie is just technical enough to give you an understanding of the challenges and nuances of the sport, without becoming too technical.

The filming of North Face is tremendous. I say this in spite of me watching the whole movie on my small computer flat screen. You can see every rock and every crag of the mountain. You actually feel as though you are on the mountain with the climbers. I never once had the feeling that there were any computer generated effects.

The scenery of the Swiss Alps made me want to open a new tab and book a flight to the Swiss Alps immediately.

World War Two History Buffs will find value in this movie as well. The almost Idyllic, hopeful pre-war Germany helps to truly underscore the years of horror and deception to come. There was not the usual, graphic, cinematic rants about the evils of the Nazi party. The writing and direction of this film decided not to direct the audience emotions in a way that would happen anyway. The makers of this film knew all too well that those watching this film are already aware of the disgraces the Nazi party caused humanity and therefore decided to let the audience allow the movie to unfold in the historical context that most of us (hopefully all of us) already understand.

If you want to truly want to get a feel for the the terrible the historical consequences of German Fascism, I'd highly suggest watching the brilliant Schindler's List and Downfall before watching North Face. Either movie would frame the inevitable terror that would exist (or should I say continue to exist and worsen) not long after the Berlin Olympics.

North Face is a great foreign film. It is the sort of movie I'd watch again.

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