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The Empty Mirror
The Empty Mirror
Actors: Norman Rodway, Camilla Søeberg, Peter Michael Goetz, Doug McKeon, Glenn Shadix
Director: Barry J. Hershey
Genres: Drama, Military & War
PG-13     2003     1hr 58min

Studio: Lions Gate Home Ent. Release Date: 08/19/2003


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Movie Details

Actors: Norman Rodway, Camilla Søeberg, Peter Michael Goetz, Doug McKeon, Glenn Shadix
Director: Barry J. Hershey
Creators: Frederick Elmes, Barry J. Hershey, Marc Grossman, David D. Johnson, Jay Roach, William Dance, R. Buckingham
Genres: Drama, Military & War
Sub-Genres: Drama, Military & War
Studio: Lions Gate
Format: DVD - Color - Closed-captioned
DVD Release Date: 08/19/2003
Original Release Date: 01/29/1999
Theatrical Release Date: 01/29/1999
Release Year: 2003
Run Time: 1hr 58min
Screens: Color
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 0
MPAA Rating: PG-13 (Parental Guidance Suggested)
Languages: English

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Movie Reviews

Compelling, hallucinogenic, and terrifying
R.L. Holly | Austin, TX USA | 10/19/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)

""Only a poet could touch the edge of the Fuhrer mystery."

Welcome to the Third Reich on acid, or perhaps it's just another day in Hell with Adolf Hitler. This surreal trip through the twisted visions of history's most dreaded dictator is a brilliant tour de force for director and co-scripter Barry Hershey. Norman Rodway gives a commendable performance as Hitler (who once declared, "I am the greatest actor in Europe", a line repeated in this film), and there are smaller roles for henchmen Goebels and Goering, wife Eva Braun, and Sigmund Freud (who pops up on occasion to spar wryly with the Fuhrer). Add the victims of WWII, making cameos through the use of back-projected archive footage -- a sort of silent Greek chorus -- and you truly have the proverbial "cast of thousands" (or millions, if we include *all* the dead).

This is not a simple film, nor a simple subject, and the avant-garde approach taken here works superbly, lending insight and dramatic effect to what might otherwise have come off as a static monologue (or a staid conventional film, such as "Hitler: The Last Ten Days"). The pace lags a bit in the latter third, but the fluid transitions and liquid foldings of scene into scene, the use of special lighting and camera effects, and the imaginative editing generally keep the viewer entranced. The underground setting is unspecified -- perhaps it IS Hell, or merely the Fuhrerbunker in Berlin, 1945, as Hitler dreams away his last sunless days -- but many architectural features are taken from real places, Nazism's court composer Wagner is used effectively in the soundtrack, and much of the dialogue comes from Hitler's own speeches or writings, lending an air of authentic menace.

To gaze into the depths of the human soul is an unnerving experience; Rodway succeeds in displaying to us the many facets of Hitler's persona, in a voice that is sometimes reasonable and seductive, at other times a bestial howl. "I wasn't put in a lunatic asylum -- I *created* a lunatic asylum. I fused the symbolic with the real ... I exuded spiritual terror!" From gloating over his accomplishments and grandiose plans (including the rebuilding of Berlin to glorify his projected masoleum) to invoking a tidal wave of war and destruction, the evil sorcerer of National Socialism looks back on his reign knowing that his progeny would be many and that his legacy would hover, spectrelike, over the new millennium. "We gave them all much to brood over, didn't we, Joseph?" he chortles to his propaganda minister. But by the film's final Gotterdammerung, even the bloody megalomania of a Hitler is unable to cope with the horror unleashed. Even a Hitler can be brought to awareness, and despair; even a Hitler, eternally accursed and tormented beyond salvation, can be pitied as his horrible destiny ends with the proverbial whimper.

Read the history books to learn what happened, but watch "The Empty Mirror" to comprehend HOW it happened."
Just watched this GEM of a movie
intheknow | Utah | 04/11/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)

"As I am reading some of the reviews, I begin to realize that this masterpiece is not for the unsophisticated who draws a blank at symbolism. It also would not hurt to have read some of the more comprehensive works on the subject such as J. Toland's "Hitler" to understand the making and the pathologies of this sometimes gentle monster. There are so many outstanding moments in this film. Like when Hitler tallies up the murdered Jews and comes up slightly short of six mio., then trivializes it by claiming the other side is always embellishing. The illuminated part where he stands in the light beam of his projector directing Handel's Messiah. Yes, he is the creator! The phallic symbol of shattered mirror he holds up. Yes, there was a problem with potency. Finally his jailer becoming himself. And his last act to immerse into the tunnel and into the light, cleverly staged through the light beam of the projector. Frustratingly clawing entry into the projection. No, he is not permitted entry. His pained face shows utter torment and eventually takes on the image of a distorted mask against a black background. Norman Rodway as Hitler did a fantastic and believable portrayal of Hitler. No, he is not the spitting image of the egomaniac, but remember looks can be deceiving!"
The Foundations of an Effective Analysis
Juan Ramirez | 11/28/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)

"Someone below commented that someone like Hitler would not have stood in the mirror and questioned himself. But anyone whose studied him a little, or just read the wartime psychological profile of him knows that this is exactly what he would have done, and in fact did. He was enfatuated with himself, and couldn't get enough footage, photographs and paintings of himself, especially if they supported the myth. The movie correctly identifies that it is the myth that Hitler was in love with, and that he truly hated the reality behind it. But at the same time the movie runs off in a hundred different directions along the way, pointing off the psychic stage at parts alleged and unknown. Bringing in the ghost of Freud was pointless and distracting. Hitler as shown in the eyes of himself and those around him could tell so much more, and did.But Hershey understood the key to Hitler, based on the evidence gathered. But his efforts to round out the character to the point of psychadelic rhapsody takes too much liberty with the facts. Also, he left out any reference to Hitler's time as a failed artist in Vienna, where he lived a beatnik lifestyle in a flop house. I'd love to see a director tie that younger Hitler to the Feurher. That would be a fascinating and instructive lesson of history. What evil do a poor radical artist and a warlord share in common? Wat sickness was there all along?"
The Empty Mirror is Full of Thought and Artistic Vision
intheknow | 04/19/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)

"A truly brillant treatment of the subject. Goes deep into the Philosophy and motives of Facism and Nazi Racism. All Words are Hilter's own (!) taken from various sources and acted superbly by Norman Rodway. This makes the film so interesting. Freud and Hitler spar in a interesting postmodern dialogue. Hope it is on DVD soon!"