Based on the book by director Luica Puenzo, Wakolda (English title: The German Doctor) is the true story of a family who befriended Nazi war criminal Josef Mengele in his years spent in Argentina after WWII. Unaware of his true identity or past life or his crimes of human experimentation, the family trust him, with young Lilith (Florencia Bado) keeping close, attempting to make sense of his mutters of “Blood and honour” as she falls for him.
Clever insights into this Nazi’s mind by means of extracts from his notebook read by Lilith break up the growing tension created between the doctor, played by Alex Brendemuhl, and his newfound experiments, Lilith and her unborn brothers. It’s like watching a mad-scientist movie but with the added tension of reality, archaic medicine and an innocent mind to be warped by the words of Hitler.
The twist is as the Israelis move in and the children deteriorate, the doctor is actually needed, though trusting him to stick to noble methods is foolish.
Ultimately, I wondered if this would make a better read than movie. With so much unsaid to create tension, a few things got lost in the transition to screen, such as the nature of Lilith’s infatuation with Mengele, why she was so entranced by him and why her pregnant mother decided to trust this stranger that so often talked of perfection and was very interested in her unborn twins.
The twist does little to help the predictable story of an innocent family around a bad man. A simple history lesson or Wikipedia search will tell you the rest of the film, the interesting aspects being Lilith and her mother pushed back to see what the bad man was going to do next, which we could have guessed for ourselves.
Verdict: 3 stars
Wakolda (The German Doctor) is released nationwide on 8th August 2014.
Watch the trailer for Wakolda (The German Doctor) here:
Quote: A tense story of an estranged Nazi among innocent faces.
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