Marc Rothemund Sophie Scholl: The Final Days

Sophie Scholl was the most famous member of the White Rose, the anti-Nazi student resistance organisation whose members were famously executed for their activities and escaped into heroic legend shortly thereafter. I don’t really know what is to be gleaned from watching the beatific suffering of her "final days” — it’s rather like looking for answers in Downfall’s "final days” of Hitler — but let it be said that this reverent film manages to make her canonisation worth watching. SS: TFD picks up at her very last activist activity (the distribution of flyers around her Munich university campus), which attracts the attention of a janitor and snowballs into an investigation that snares the organisation. Mostly, however, it’s her having a tête-à-tête with an interrogator named Mohr, who preaches the Nazi gospel while goading her to save her skin. Anyone German probably already knows the outcome (her perseverance and martyrdom) and anyone looking for insight beyond hero-worship is strictly out of luck. Still, it’s a handsome, low-key production that manages to be quietly well-paced and studiously chilled. Despite encouraging talented Scholl-impersonator Julia Jentsch to act like she’s touched by God (or perhaps because of it), the film never shows its seams and manages to be convincing, which of course, is not the same as being the elusive "way it was” that all biopic makers quixotically chase. This isn’t a terribly smart film but there are worse things to do than genuflect at the shrine of a Nazi resister. Extras include a lengthy and impressionistic "making of” featurette, three disquieting interviews with survivors and family members that outshine the feature, and 13 deleted and extended scenes. (Mongrel Media)