February 11, 2024
BLU-RAY DISC REVIEW:
Street Date 2/27/24;
In German with English subtitles.
Stars Julia Jentsch, Alexander Held, Fabian Hinrichs.
During a six-day period in February 1943, Sophie Scholl, her brother Hans, and a friend named Christoph Probst were arrested, tried, convicted and executed for their role in distributing a series of six leaflets criticizing Adolf Hitler’s ability to win World War II.
Nazi Germany had just suffered a bitter defeat in its invasion of Russia, and a student movement calling itself The White Rose formed in Munich to advocate peace and resistance, ideals the Nazis would not tolerate.
The centerpiece of Sophie Scholl, an Oscar nominee for best foreign language film of 2005, consists of the riveting interrogation of Sophie by Inspector Mohr, who encourages her to claim a lesser role in the sedition so as to avoid the harshest of penalties. But Sophie is adamant she be treated the same as her brother.
Sophie takes Mohr to task for rumors of Nazi exterminations. Mohr seems surprised by these accusations, and he seems to sympathize with Sophie, but remains committed to the letter of the law.
The subsequent trial of Sophie, Hans and Probst is a farce, presided over by Judge Freisler, who acts more like an interrogator, spouting propaganda in open court as a means of presenting evidence.
The film is filled with moments of great sadness, knowing the Allied advances will be too late to help these people. Seeing the methodical terror displayed by the Nazis in adhering to their justice code, even against their own citizenry, is chilling.
Julia Jentsch is terrific as Sophie, displaying fear while maintaining a brave front. Her devotion to God and loyalty to her ideals are presented as her biggest strengths, in sharp contrast to her Nazi captors. Sophie and Hans exhibit great courage for sticking to their beliefs. Men like Mohr and Freisler are presented as the real cowards, unwilling to stand up against Nazi atrocities or tolerate those who might disagree with them.
In the most powerful scene of the film, Sophie boldly predicts the Nazis soon will find themselves on trial. It’s a strong indictment — a regime that cannot stand against contrary opinion does not deserve to remain in power in the first place.
Sophie Scholl: The Final Days arrives on Blu-ray Disc sporting a solid new 4K restoration, and comes with legacy extras such as the featurette “The Making of Sophie Scholl,” deleted scenes, and historical interviews about the real-life subjects of the film.
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