Labyrinth of Lies

Nov 3, 2015

Germany's own docudrama about hunting Nazis.  A good one.

Labyrinth of Lies

Grade: B

Director: Guilio Ricciarelli

Screenplay: Ricciarelli, Elizabeth Bartel

Cast: Andre Szymanski, Alexander Fehlling

Rating: R

Runtime: 124 min.

by John DeSando

“You were all Nazis. In the Eastern sector, now you are all communists. Jesus, you Germans! If little green men from Mars landed tomorrow, you would all become green.” Major Parker (Tim Williams)

As Germans take the initiative to capture Nazis and bring them to trial in 1963-65, we all can revisit in Labyrinth of Lies the stunning atrocities of major player Dr. Joseph Mengele and many more minor miscreants. The docudrama doesn’t paint Germans as in the above quote to be like sheep; it treats them with the respect due to a people deeply affected by the Nazi horrors as they only recently can admit to being blind about the holocaust.

Assistant Prosecutor Johann Radmann (Alexander Fehling), although young and inexperienced, corrals his idealism to head a search that blocks him and his crew at every turn, a realistic touch because we know the millions of Jews who died at the hands of these murderers.

Labyrinth of Lies deliberately and clearly establishes the need for the trials, as explained by Attorney General Fritz Bauer (Gert Voss), while it presents the young Radmann pursuing criminals and a love. The onerous and damaging task of collating names and addresses without computers is a heavy cost for the idealistic Radmann and by implication, the German people.

Regular Germans have long needed to face their past with stoicism and contrition—Labyrinth of Lies, in a successfully-measured drama, gives them that chance. 

The risk of the Holocaust is not that it will be forgotten, but that it will be embalmed and surrounded by monuments and used to absolve all future sins.” Zygmunt Bauman

John DeSando, a Los Angeles Press Club first-place winner for National Entertainment Journalism, hosts WCBE’s It’s Movie Time and co-hosts Cinema Classics. Contact him at