This Book vs. Movie post will revolve around one the best German books I read in the last years, the infamous: Look Who’s Back by Timur Vermes. Of course it didn’t take long for this best-selling novel to be adapted for the big screen!
Hitler is back. He wakes up in present day Berlin without any memory of what happened in the last 70 years. Strolling around in his uniform, Hitler is picked up by a TV company. As they believe him to be an impersonator doing a satirical comic programme, he is put on air…
Book vs. Movie:
Timur Vermes wrote a very dark and very gripping book. I love how dark and smart it is and how much stuff you can read between the lines. You wouldn’t expect it, but the sense of humor is outstanding. In fact, I ended up taking pictures of some quotes and sending them to my friends, so they could have a laugh too! You should know a few things about WWII and the people involved to fully understand the stuff the writer alludes to. Otherwise many of the smart little side notes will be lost. But tha’s exactly what I enjoyed about this novel. Timur Vermes takes the reader as smart person and doesn’t spell everything out!
I was convinced that a movie adaptation would be perfect for this book, as the media is one of the biggest elements in the story. However, I was a little surprised that the plot was changed substantially. The first third is pretty much the same but from there on the filmmakers went for a rather different line. Thus, most of the dark undertones were lost as well as many of the intricate jokes. But what annoyed me most is that they make everything so obvious. While Vermes makes you think, the film is very direct. They basically changed the plot to remind you that Hitler is a bad guy. A very bad guy. And that he’s back is very bad aswell. For me it ruined the film as it felt very forced and uninspired. The actors really do their best but especially the very over-the-top ending killed the last shred of credibility.
The movie is a huge letdown as it is neither as smart, funny or dark as Timur Vermes’ novel. Stick with the novel and you will be better entertained than you might expect from a book!
Did you read the book? Watch the film? Let me know in the comments what you think!