Victor Roth, a renowned German scientist lives a quiet, fortunate life in a small village in the German alps during the early 1930s. That is until the Nazi's come into power, leading to the entire Roth family becoming divided by the sweeping changes taking place in Germany, leaving Martin, a close family friend, also stuck in the turmoil. Frank Borzage's The Mortal Storm is a gripping account of the rise of the Nazi party in Germany and the effect it had on everyone and everything in the country. Given the subject matter, which pretty much anyone can relate to in some capacity, this is probably Borzage's most emotionally poignant film, showing the courageous of the few who stood against the many. Taking its time, the film sets up the Roth family as a perfect household, making the inevitable destruction of the family unit that much more poignant. Borzage's ability to use slow, and subtle camera movements to bring out the poignancy and add emotional context to his characters is phenomenal -the bar sequence or book burning moment of the film being great examples. There are many great characters in the film from Victor Roth, a man who fights for scientific truth, to Martin, a pacifist who sees many of his dearest friends turn against him, relying on these characters to show the power of courage in the face of adversity. While I could see an argument made that the message on bigotry comes off heavy handed, the film is able to simply overcome this because the main characters in the film, with even those who join the Nazi party are shown to have humanistic qualities, even if they do become more monsters than men. I guess my only real complaint would the casting of Jimmy Stewart, a great actor no doubt, but a little hard to buy as a German. Personally, this barely affects my opinion of the overall film.
Love of all things cinema brought me here.