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4.4 out of 5 stars
78
4.4 out of 5 stars
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on 9 June 2017
First of all Jurgen Vogel (plays the teacher) is really, really great in this. He's incredibly human and very believable. I was thinking it'd be cool if him and Daniel Bruhl (Goodbye Lenin!) were in a film together (they are!). It's certainly massively entertaining and kept my attention well throughout. As many others on here have commented though it does have one or two flaws to stop it from being an amazing film. The idea that the teacher and manipulate a group of teenagers to form a quasi-fascist, semi-violent group is not unbelievable. However the speed he does it in (five days) and the fact he doesn't mean to makes it all so unbelievable. Which is a shame because had the teacher had been evil and the film set over a much longer period, it'd be 5 out of 5 for me.
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on 26 March 2017
Good watch for Psychology students interested in social influence.
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on 1 April 2017
Good film.
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on 25 October 2015
Briliant. This is a great German film.
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on 18 March 2010
From people into masses, from nice young boys and girls into a cohort of willing extremists. This is an old and very up to date question: How was it possible to create devout and fanatic monsters as the communists and the nazis did, and a lot of other creeds do today? The answer is unpleasant: With indoctrination, group pressure and a load of propaganda (and of course censoring all dissidents) it is possible everywhere with a very good chance of getting the majority with you. This theme has been shown in many films, from different angles; the conclusion in Dead Poet's Society from a rather positive point, but here in The Wave in a much more direct and undisguised way. This is a film for teenagers (and their parents no doubt) who will say, almost to a man, this could not happen here. What the film shows is that it could and many of us have seen it happen in real life, although in small proportions. If you have seen a few demonstrations (or have tried people who have been running amok in them) you will take this film as a good learning. My children are now young grownups, but they both saw The Wave and came to the conclusion: 'We have seen a lot of people who could be in this sort of mass movement'. The plot may be forseeable, but its idea is a very good one, to watch out. This film is really good, and also contains a warning to us who are privileged to live in a free society. The Wave is an inoculation for the democratic ideas, it must be renewed. Watch it and you will agree!
Gunnar Adell
form. dep. director of Public Prosecution, Sweden
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on 26 July 2010
Based on the book "The Wave" by Morton Rhue [which was itself inspired by a social experiment called "The Third Wave" that took place at a Californian high school in 1967] this fantastic German film demonstrates the simplistic but dangerous appeal that fascism, socialism and other collectivist ideologies can have for people who feel they are adrift or for those seeking easy answers to their own and society's problems - i.e. mostly, but not exclusively, the young.

Well acted, gripping and thought-provoking, it tells the story of a one week project devised by a German high school teacher to show his students the ease with which an autocracy can be established. "Do you think another dictatorship would be impossible in Germany?" Herr Wenger asks his pupils at the start of the project. "It's never going to happen again" replies one. "We're beyond all that" says another and, so it seems, they are. Indeed, the hedonistic, disorderly world they inhabit with its techno parties, prolific drug-taking, on-line social networking and general decadence seems about as far removed from Germany's National Socialist past as it's possible to get. Their home lives too lack order as their post-1960s, liberal parents engage in over-familiar mateyness with their children or lead sexually promiscuous lives in front of them. As one character points out her parents are just "too cool". Needless to say, craving the order, discipline and stability that is lacking both in their home lives and in the 'anything goes' society around them, these young people take to fascism like ducks to water. They are, to varying degrees, quite prepared to sacrifice their individuality for conformity - for the sense of belonging they get by being a part of something greater than themselves and the empowerment they derive from the unity of the group. Very quickly though, perhaps too quickly in my view, the project begins to run out of control both inside and outside of the school. Even the teacher himself becomes intoxicated by the deference his students begin to show towards him as his manipulative project unfolds.

There are, of course, dissenting voices and not everybody accepts the new order. I won't spoil the ending but, suffice to say, the truism that the simplistic remedies to society's ills promised by fascistic & socialistic ideology hold the most appeal for the most damaged means that there isn't a happy ending. This is a terrific film with a message that is particularly relevant to young people growing up in Britain today. Watch it.
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on 24 August 2016
I had expected this to follow the book by the same name, but it was completely different. I was disappointed because of the language and other "non-essential" parts added to the story line.
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on 30 November 2008
A real thought-provoking and interesting film. I knew little of the story before taking the sixth form German students from my school to a viewing. We all came away shocked and entertained, shocked by the possibilities and entertained by the drama and suspense. It may put some people off that the film is in German but it is worth seeing nevertheless. For those of you who speak German, the language is that of the everyday schoolyard, not of the textbook so exposes the student to a different aspect of culture and society.
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on 7 October 2010
It seems a lot of people have problems with subtitles, but these films that are non English or American and usually the best gems out there. Very thought provoking and some really good acting. This just happens to be set in Germany but could of course happen in any town, which it did in America as a true story. A good lot of extras too. Recommended, even for those who have a subtitle phobia!
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I enjoyed this film, it`s a good story acted well; it`s not without its flaws though. The premise of the "rebel" teacher finding an interesting way to discuss autocracy during project week (whilst his strait-laced colleague gets the plum gig of anarchy) is a good one. That the original novel has been moved to Germany from America adds an unsettling layer of interest.

The students already have one foot in the anarchy camp, and our shaven-headed teacher looks right there with them, but are they not all conforming with their distinct, and cliched non-conformity? They quickly see the simple benefits of a collective, in terms of skills and asset sharing, and once a team-spirit is created, events spiral out of control incredibly quickly. Perhaps too quickly - one week to turn them into, well, Fascists/Nazis? Whilst teenage minds may be impressionable, that only one student from the group doesn`t buy into the new philosophy is a bit strange.

The methods employed by Wenger to influence his students are entertaining though, and the sinister events gain such momentum that all are powerless to stop them - one minute the head is congratulating Wenger on the order he has instilled on his class, the next they are running amok, spraying graffito on everything! The conclusion is somewhere between predictable and tragic, though perhaps not exactly as I expected - it`s essentially a study of how incredibly impressionable and potentially dangerous people are, and what lengths they will go to to fit in. Not a bad film to show to students, whether they`re leaning left or right. Not a bad film to show to politicians either.
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