Rutger Hauer, Miranda Richardson, Peter Vaughan, Michael Kitchen, Jean Marsh
1995, 110 Minutes, Directed by: Christopher Menaul
Description: This retro-futuristic adventure depicts a 1964 in
which Hitler won the war and Joe Kennedy Sr. is U.S. president. Europe is
known as Germania and opens its borders to American journalists, hoping to
line up the U.S. as an ally against Russia. —
While many people may not think of Robert Harris best-selling novel Fatherland
as science fiction, it definitely is. After all, its alternate universe theme based on the
question "what if Hitler had won WWII?" is the staple diet of many a sci-fi
novel, perhaps most notably Philip K. Dicks The Man In The High Castle.
Whereas Dick explored his favorite hang-up of "what is reality?" in The
Man In The High Castle, Harris Fatherland is perhaps the best invocation
of what it would have been like to live in a Europe conquered by the Nazis. Besides that,
it is also an unusual page turner, well researched and tinged with Harris political
cynicism. If you havent read it, then I would suggest that you do so immediately.
However, while the made for cable television movie based on the novel isnt an
extreme case of "how not to adapt a novel to the big screen," Fatherland
remains a disappointment. Not bad, but not any good either it simply fails to capture the
atmosphere and excitement of the Harris novel. Even worse, it exchanges the novels
powerful ending with a forced Hollywood-type happy ending.
Whilst reading the novel I kept on thinking what a brilliant movie it would make. This
is however not that movie . . .
If you haven’t read the book, then don’t bother with this
movie. Read the book instead. If you have read the book, then you’ll no
doubt also be disappointed with this movie adaptation.