HOME |  JOIN |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
American Assassin
Die, Mommie, Die!
All the Money in the World
Effect of Gamma Rays on Man-in-the-Moon Marigolds, The
Black Panther
Children's Hour, The
Mayhem
Sphere
Guyver, The
Night School
Loveless
Ragtime
Mishima: A Life in Four Chapters
Murders in the Rue Morgue
Wound, The
Scalawag
Let's Get Harry
Girl with Green Eyes
Sunchaser, The
Tom Jones
Downsizing
Defiant Ones, The
Centerfold Girls, The
Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner, The
120 BPM (Beats Per Minute)
Police Academy 3: Back in Training
Safe Place, A
Saturday Night and Sunday Morning
Cargo
Entertainer, The
   
 
Newest Articles
A Yen for the 1990s: Iron Monkey and Satan Returns
Hey, Punk: Jubilee and Rock 'n' Roll High School
Help! with The Knack: Richard Lester in 1965
Roll Up, Get Yer Free Cinema: The Shorts on the BFI Woodfall Blu-rays
Time for Heroes: The Dam Busters and How I Won the War
Hell is a City: Midnight Cowboy and Taxi Driver
Boris Goes Bonkers, Bela Goes Bats: The Old Dark House and Mark of the Vampire
Charles Bronson's Mid-70s: Breakheart Pass and Others
Kids in America: The Breakfast Club vs Metropolitan
80s Dance-Off: Staying Alive vs Murder-Rock vs Breakin'
The Cinematic Darkside of Donald Crowhurst
Dutch Courage: The Flodder Series
Coming of Age: Boys on Film 18 - Heroes on DVD
Country and Irish - The secret history of Irish pop culture
Wash All This Scum Off the Streets: Vigilante Movies
   
 
  Invincible Strongarm TacticsBuy this film here.
Year: 2001
Director: Werner Herzog
Stars: Tim Roth, Jouko Ahola, Anna Gourari, Max Raabe, Jacob Wein, Gustav-Peter Wöhler, Udo Kier, Herbert Golder, Gary Bart, Renate Krößner, Ben-Tzion Hershberg
Genre: Biopic
Rating:  5 (from 1 vote)
Review: The year is 1932, the place is Poland and a small village where the Jewish blacksmith Zishe Breitbart (Jouko Ahola) lives and works with his father, mother and younger siblings. Today he decides, as he has a bit of spare cash, to treat his beloved brother Benjamin (Jacob Wein) to a meal in a restaurant, or the closest this area gets to a restaurant in any case, but while they are sitting waiting to be served they are noticed by a gang of rowdies sitting behind them. Zishe politely answers their questions, but things get out of hand when they start being anti-Semitic and he thrashes them in a fit of anger. Not something he's proud of, but his strength does get the attentions of a local agent...

Not a government agent, but a theatrical agent who once he sees Zishe beat a circus strongman after the tavern owner demands he try to win him the cost of repairs to his establishment, invites him to Berlin and a chance at fame and fortune. Invincible was Werner Herzog's first fictional film since Scream of Stone ten years before, and a measure of anticipation followed his return to the form, that was until most of them actually saw it and judged it something of a letdown. Had Herzog lost his touch with fiction? This was not wholly fictional, of course, as it was based on a true story, but the director had chosen his cast through their skills other than acting, so for example Zishe was played by actual World's Strongest Man winner (twice!) Ahola in a role that saw him convincingly lift enormous weights to impressive effect.

What he could not do to impressive effect was deliver a line of dialogue, and there's something about the cast of mostly non-professionals parading in front of us, often not in their native language, that is extremely redolent of amateur hour. Only two actors emerge with their credibility intact, one is Tim Roth playing real life mesmerist Erik Jan Hanussen, a fine performance of tightly contained fury, and the other in a smaller part was Udo Kier as a Count in Hanussen's orbit who works wonders with the short scenes he is offered. But you could regard this as a children's fable, as after all the opening sees Benjamin telling Zishe a fairy tale which sets the scene for a similarly hard to believe if it were not true narrative; there's little here that would trouble a child's mind as everything is marked out quite clearly.

So it could be that a sense of innocence the main strongman character embodies is the way to approach the whole story, with Nazis being the bad guys and the Jews being the good, but Herzog is interested in the fact that there was a blurring of the lines between them in the person of Hanussen, who hid a secret from his adoring, fascist public. When Zishe appears on the scene, he adopts the persona of Samson, the Jewish he-man of the Bible, and he will meet his match in an equivalent manner, brought down by a simple occurence that nobody could have forseen arriving. But he also gives lie to the Nazi view of the Jews being a weak race, as he is a superman of his own kind, and although he did not live to tackle the enemies of his people in the upcoming Second World War, he did his bit to bring them down a peg or two and expose the dark farce that their ideology represented. It's a nice idea for a film, especially one made by Germans, but for some reason never reaches its full power, unlike its hero. Music by Hans Zimmer and Klaus Badelt.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 1697 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 

Werner Herzog  (1942 - )

Eccentric German writer/director known equally for his brilliant visionary style and tortuous filming techniques. After several years struggling financially to launch himself as a filmmaker, Herzog began his career with the wartime drama Lebenszeichen and surreal comedy Even Dwarfs Started Small. But it was the stunning 1972 jungle adventure Aguirre, Wrath of God that brought him international acclaim and began his tempestuous working relationship with Klaus Kinski. The 1975 period fable Heart of Glass featured an almost entirely hypnotised cast, while other Herzog classics from this era include Stroszek, the gothic horror Nosferatu the Vampyre and the spectacular, notoriously expensive epic Fitzcarraldo.

Herzog's subsequent work is perhaps less well known but he has continued to direct both provocative feature films (Cobra Verde, Invincible, Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans) and intriguing documentaries, most notably My Best Fiend, detailing his love/hate relationship with the late Kinski and 2005's highly acclaimed Grizzly Man. Herzog has also been the subject of two Les Blank documentaries: Burden of Dreams (about the making of Fitzcarraldo) and the hilarious Werner Herzog Eats His Shoe (in which he does just that).

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which film has the best theme song?
Spectre
The Ups and Downs of a Handyman
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Enoch Sneed
Graeme Clark
Paul Smith
  Jamie Nichols
Andrew Pragasam
George White
Darren Jones
  Butch Elliot
   

 

Last Updated: