Reviewed by Adam Donato
History is one of the most important subjects. Final Account exhibits a collection of first-hand accounts from actual Hitler Youth, now in old age. They talk about their experiences, their jobs, and more importantly their reflective feelings about what they participated in. This documentary is obviously depressing in many ways but is a necessary part of history for people to learn about. Directed by Luke Holland, there is plenty of purposes and remorse showcased here.
One of the most insane parts of history when regarding the Holocaust is the fact that some people deny that it happened. This is addressed in the documentary by people who were actually there and to see their reactions is heartbreaking. It gives this telling of the story purpose as members of the S.S. talk about what they did, all over pictures of real-life places where all of this happened. Tastefully enough, nothing too gruesome is shown until the end. Here is an admittance by people responsible for one of the greatest human atrocities ever committed.
Responsibility is a funny word in this context. One of the heaviest questions addressed in the documentary is whether or not their complicity in this event makes them perpetrators. This is certainly the most emotional and compelling part as it's a double-edged sword of a question. They participated in what happened, but there is a case to be made that they had no choice for they would’ve been persecuted themselves if they didn’t follow in suit.
There is a lot to be said about humanity here. The interviewees explain why they got into it in the first place and how they were ignorant in their faith. Most condemn what happened and their part in all of it, but one of the more interesting aspects is seeing some of them justify themselves. They see what they did as accomplishments and deny to face the reality of the situation.
The music in the documentary is very sad. There are a lot of long shots of locations of important events that took place. The combination of these things after hearing deeply reflective and poignant recounts is haunting. There is plenty of time to sit in what was said and imagine the horrifying things that took place. Definitely the type of movie that makes one reflect on the world and appreciate the time we live in today. Hopefully, this doc will help be a time-capsule where people recognize the impact that something like this has, not only on the victims and the world, but it’s something they have to live with for the rest of their lives.
Final Account is certainly a bleak affair. Nobody likes reexperienceing one of the greatest human tragedies, but this documentary does a lot of teaching and offers a lot of reflection about what’s wrong with people and the world. This movie has a limited theatrical release, but will more likely be seen by children in schools during history class.
Final Account hits theaters on May 21.