Look Who's Back (2015)

A while ago, a friend of my mother's suggested me an Italian film, I'm Back (Sono tornato), as she thought I'd enjoy it. So I did what I always do, I googled the film but only to find out that its interesting concept wasn't even original as the film is a remake of a German film, Look Who's Back (Er ist wieder da). A film I finally watched and absolutely adored as it is a brilliant and hilarious dark comedy with a towering performance by Oliver Masucci.

Berlin, 2014. Adolf Hitler (Oliver Masucci) suddenly wakes up in the park where his former bunker used to be and, in full uniform, disoriented and confused, he wanders around the city looking for answers. It's only after having people laughing at him as they think he is an actor impersonating Hitler, being attacked by a mime and pepper-strayed by a terrified mother, that Adolf arrives at a newspaper kiosk and, upon reading that it is 2014, faints. He's eventually offered shelter by the kiosk owner (Lars Rudolph) and, as he reads about modern German and that Poland still exists, moreover on German territory, he vows to continue his work. 

In the meantime, freelance video journalist Fabian Sawatzki (Fabian Busch) is fired from the television station MyTV. At home, while rewatching the footage he filmed that morning, he notices Hitler in the background and begins searching for him in hopes of getting his job back. And he does find him and, impressed by the authenticity of Hitler's rant about conquering Poland and thinking he is a method actor, Sawatzki embarks on a road trip across Germany with Hitler, filming him speaking to common people about topics such as voting, democracy and immigration. 

Based on Timus Vermes's novel of the same name, Look Who's Back's story is interesting and throughout very engaging, not only as we follow Hitler and his antics in modern-day Germany — watching the non-scripted encounters he has with ordinary German people is quite funny, but not as much as watching him learning how to use the computer and the internet — but also as the focus of the story shifts on the TV station as Hitler becomes the guest star of every show thanks to his spot-on and funny impersonation. It's not by no mean perfect though as there are several subplots — a bittered producer (Christoph Maria Herbst) seeking for revenge, Hitler visiting a fictional political party that goes nowhere, and a romance involving Sawatzki and a secretary (Franziska Wulf) who works at the TV station — that add absolutely nothing to the film.

It is a flaw I'm willing to overlook though as the film provides great social commentary. In fact, after a lighthearted and comedic start, the film begins transforming to the point of becoming a dark and realistic portrayal of our society. It shows how people consider the most controversial topics to be the most entertaining and how media exploits that, often crossing the line to gain more viewers and therefore money. It shows the huge control and impact media has on society. Furthermore, in its dramatic ending, Look Who's Back shows that not only Hitler is back but that he has never left as people are as hateful as ever and it really goes to show that not much has changed since then.

From a cinematic point of view, there are a couple of aspects of Look Who's Back that stand out. The cinematography that, although it's not jaw-dropping Oscar-worthy material, has a very interesting variety of techniques and camera angles — it's rather terrifying how the camera looks down on Hitler at the beginning and looks up at him at the end as he has gain popularity and power —; and the acting, specifically the performance by Oliver Masucci that is both unsettling and hilarious. Hidden behind the infamous moustache and 20 extra kilos, Masucci gives such a serious and straight performance in the role of Hitler, while also nailing the voice and delivering the dictator's imposing attitude towards others, that he truly becomes terrifying near the end. Needless to say, the rest of the cast pales in comparison.

Ultimately, Look Who's Back is an engaging, thought-provoking comedy that finds laughter in odd, bad places — it will occasionally make you feel bad about yourself for laughing at one joke or another. One you should check it out if you haven't already.


  1. This is in my wish list for a longtime, I guess now it's time to move it to my "watched list". :)

  2. Nice review! I haven't heard of this one, but it sounds fascinating. I'm definitely adding it to my watchlist.

    1. Thank you! It's really worth checking out.

  3. A movie that makes you feel bad for laughing? Ah, that sounds great. :D