Review: One Hundred Years of Evil
12:00 PM on 05.18.2012
It's important for a mockumentary to be believable. Real documentaries can fall back on their legitimacy if things ever take a turn for the ridiculous, but mockumentaries can't do that. The instant you question a mockumentary, it begins to fall apart. Searching the internet for information contained in a mockumentary brings you to forum posts of other people who are just as annoyed as you.
One Hundred Years of Evil seems to be unaware of this. It exists in an alternate reality where Hitler survived World War II, took on another persona, and moved to America. So from the get-go, things are verging on unbelievable, but there is some legitimately interesting stuff that could come from that premise.
Unfortunately, the story makes no goddamn sense.
One Hundred Years of Evil
Directors: Erik Eger and Magnus Oliv
Release Date: May 19, 2012 (NYC)
Country: Sweden, US
I'm actually kind of surprised that no one has put this kind of theory out there. Hitler's suicide has always just been a foregone conclusion. It's the kind of thing that seems ripe for some kind of conspiracy. But no, everyone is perfectly content to believe that Hitler is and has been dead since the early 1940s.
But let's imagine it was a cover up. That's not too hard. The government covers things up all the time. Why not this? As long as the narrative is compelling, we can roll with it. Let's imagine that Adolf Hitler took on the persona of Adolf Munchenhauser and moved to the United States of America. Fine, but now what? What would he do? He's Hitler. He is the pretty much the most hated person in the entire world. It's not like people wouldn't recognize him. Yes, a nose job would help with that, but the name Adolf certainly wasn't going to help the man make any friends.
But fine. It hasn't gotten too ridiculous. Let's suspend some more disbelief and imagine he would keep the name Adolf and the minor plastic surgery on his face would be enough to keep people walking down the street from seeing him. What would he do? That is what One Hundred Years of Evil tries to answer.
It is a fake documentary, however, so the film does not follow Hitler throughout his years in America. Instead, it looks back through the lens of a professor named Skule, who, after studying the faces of Nazis who were in the bunker during Hitler's "death," becomes convinced that the whole thing was a lie. It's kind of like that TV show Lie to Me, except without Tim Roth. So Skule, with a documentary-filmmaker/friend in tow, along with another guy who just holds the boom the whole time, goes on a hunt.
Unfortunately, One Hundred Years of Evil suffers from a pretty major identity crisis. It doesn't know whether it wants to be a mockumentary or a found footage film. Most of the film is very much like a documentary; there are interviews, old photos and videos, and an accented narrator making sure you don't miss anything important.
But then there are the scenes where characters are trying to do stupid or illegal things. Skule and his friends cause all sorts of damage and document the entire thing. If One Hundred Years of Evil was a documentary, and it ever got released, all of the filmmakers would be behind bars for life. They act the way you would expect someone to act in a found footage film. The final scenes seem to drop the documentary pretense entirely, just showing in (mostly) real-time a very stupid thing that the filmmakers are doing.
If I had to choose whether I preferred the documentary side of the film or the found footage side I would definitely say the found footage, because it makes a lot more sense. In fact, it's the only side that makes any sense. It's difficult to see One Hundred Years of Evil as a serious film, because the things it tries to say are beyond ridiculous. As you can see above, the film makes the claim that Adolf Hitler, among other things, opened up a fast food restaurant called "McBratwürtz" (I assume that is a misspelling of "bratwurst").
I don't even need to explain how absolutely ludicrous that is. Frankly, none of the things that the film says Hitler did make any sense. He was capable enough to take over Germany and huge chunks of Europe, to convince people to kill millions of Jews, but in America he needs to work in a kitchen with a black man. That is the way he shapes history from the background. I'm not sure how the filmmakers came up with that idea or thought that anyone would buy it, but they did. And it's dumb, really dumb.
The thing is, though, that One Hundred Years of Evil is really short. It's only a little over 70 minutes. I can deal with a lot of issues from a film that is only 70 minutes. As stupid as it is and as ridiculous as it is I don't think that the film is bad. I think it is a major waste of a very interesting premise, and it suffers from an inability to understand what it's trying to be, but is not bad. It's just kind of strange, really. I can't say I've ever seen anything like it, and I don't know if that's a good thing or not, but it's something.
And that's really what One Hundred Years of Evil is: something. I don't really know what, and I'm not sure the filmmakers really know what, but it's definitely a movie that exists, and that can be seen. If you're curious to see just how far down the rabbit hole Hitler apparently went, you might actually enjoy this film. But if you try to look at it seriously, or as something trying to tell a serious story, you'll probably just feel bad for everybody involved.
THE VERDICT: 55/100
One Hundred Years of Evil - Reviewed by Alec Kubas-Meyer
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