Im Labyrinth des Schweigens

September 25th, 2015


Im Labyrinth des Schweigens

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A story that exposes the conspiracy of prominent German institutions and government branches to cover up the crimes of Nazis during World War II.

Release Year: 2014

Rating: 7.4/10 (1,829 voted)

Critic's Score: /100

Director: Giulio Ricciarelli

Stars: André Szymanski, Alexander Fehling, Friederike Becht

The year is 1958. The war has been over for thirteen years and the Federal Republic of Germany is not only recovering but even booming. But where are the Nazis? Who has ever heard of the death camps? It looks as if everything is for the best in the best of all possible worlds in this land of milk and honey... At least, until the day journalist Thomas Gnielka recognizes in the person of a teacher the former commander of the Auschwitz concentration camp... At least, until Johann Radmann, a young prosecutor, decides to investigate the case... Nobody knows it yet but this is the dawn of a new era. Even if the road to awareness will be long and rocky...

Writers: Elisabeth Bartel, Giulio Ricciarelli

Alexander Fehling - Johann Radmann
André Szymanski - Thomas Gnielka
Friederike Becht - Marlene Wondrak
Johannes Krisch - Simon Kirsch
Johann von Bülow - Staatsanwalt Otto Haller
Robert Hunger-Bühler - Oberstaatsanwalt Walter Friedberg
Hansi Jochmann - Sekretärin Schmittchen
Lukas Miko - Hermann Langbein
Gert Voss - Generalstaatsanwalt Fritz Bauer
Tim Williams - Major Parker
Mathis Reinhardt - BKA-Mann Fischer
Hartmut Volle - Lehrer Alois Schulz
Werner Wölbern - Hans Lichter
Timo Dierkes - Peter Mertens
Michael Schernthaner - Alter BKA Mann

Taglines: In Germany, 15 years after World War II, one young man forces an entire country to face its past.


Official Website: Official site [Japan] | Official Website

Country: Germany

Language: German

Release Date: 25 September 2015

Technical Specs


Did You Know?

Chosen as Germany's submission to the category of Best Foreign Language Film at the 88th Academy Awards in 2016. See more »


User Review


Rating: 6/10

"Im Labyrinth des Schweigens" or "Labyrinth of Lies" is director Giulio Ricciarelli's first feature film after 4 short films in the last ten years. So, looking at how he is relatively new to the genre, the result is not bad at all especially given Ricciarelli also wrote the film together with Elisabath Bartel. Actually, he has been more of an actor so far, just like his wife Lisa Martinek. She also plays a small part in here. The main part is played by Alexander Fehling, namely a prosecutor (Radmann) 15 years after World War II. Fehling is one of Germany's rising stars and you may have seen him in "Goethe! not too long ago. The role was pretty baity and all in all Fehling did a good job with it. My favorite performance, however, comes from the recently deceased Gert Voss, who plays a bit of a father figure and mentor to Fehling's character, at the very moment Radmann loses faith in his real father.

Prosecutor Radmann looks into German history and tries to catch those responsible for the crimes during World War II. Obviously, there is also lots of morale in there. Can they be punished for being in the party? What did they have to do to be really responsible for what happened and face consequences? Wasn't everybody involved somehow? Including the central character's family? Why haven't they done anything to stop the tragedy? There were a couple good scenes in this film. I liked the reactions from Radmann's secretary and also the one-word-swearing from his colleague right after one interrogation. Maybe my favorite moment of the film and I quite liked Johann von Bülow's performance here. The historic references were interesting too and I was surprised to see how so many people did not know anything about Auschwitz, apart from these who obviously did not want to know.

Unfortunately, there are also some criticisms. The ending was too heroic for me and too forced as a happy end I thought. Okay, you could bring up the excuse, this is how it happened in real, but somehow I did not like it. It would have been nice to watch the filmmakers take the risk and end the film with the lead character failing as we see him as a private prosecutor together with the lawyer who defended the accused Nazi criminal earlier on when he called his acts human as he was not the one deciding who gets killed, but who shall live. Apart from that, basically all the romantic scenes felt really weak to me. The problem was not the acting there, it was really the writing. The first meeting where the female main character is at court is not good and the ending with the two and the jacket metaphor I thought was downright cringeworthy. Also the scene with Radmann's mother felt randomly rushed in as this relationship remained completely unexamined.

This is not a perfect movie at all, sometimes the dialogs are excellent, sometimes the exact opposite, but everybody with an interest in German history or German films in general can give it a chance. If you liked it, let me recommend you an older film with a similar topic: "Das schreckliche Mädchen" / "The Nasty Girl", an Oscar nominee in the Foreign Language Film category from roughly 25 years ago.


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