Merkel – Movie Review

Wir schaffen das?

What’s it about?

A documentary charting the early life and rise to power of former German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

What did we think?

One of my personal metrics for the quality of a documentary is how much I learn about someone (or something) that I was oblivious to before watching. While this documentary provides plenty of interesting insights into Merkel’s early life, her rise to power, and the historical context in which it all happened, it spreads itself a little thin by attempting to cover so much.

There are some fascinating moments in which archival footage shows the subtle (and sometimes not so subtle) ways in which she as a woman was treated by the media and other politicians, these interesting moments are given as much screentime as less interesting facets of her career. Contextualising her entry into politics against the fall of the Berlin Wall excellently complements her later opposition to Trump’s Build-That-Wall rhetoric, and especially when contrasted with Putin’s lament for the fall of the Soviet Union, but these are just some delicious toppings on an otherwise just-okay pizza (Editor’s note: I was very hungry when I wrote this).

If you’re interested in Merkel you likely won’t learn too much new information, and if you’re not you probably won’t be thrilled by the documentary’s content, but it’s well-constructed and serves it’s purpose admirably, although the lack of contemporaneous interviews with Merkel herself becomes notably odd by the end.

As frequently interesting as often as it isn't, Merkel is a well-made documentary that lacks focus.
A raconteur by nature and motormouth by trade, the only thing Pete loves more than watching movies is a good debate about movies. He'll argue with anyone about anything, and enjoy it more than is socially acceptable.
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