FINAL ACCOUNT (2021)
A documentary with noble intent that is fascinating and full of promise, Final Account sadly buckles under the weight of its own ambitions.
Filmmaker Luke Holland presents a film flush with intimate conversations with some of the last surviving members of Adolf Hitler’s Third Reich, exploring their memories and roles with differing opinions. Final Account is notable for the access the film gives audiences to individuals who were present for and/or a part of the atrocities committed by Hitler in Nazi-controlled Germany, interviews that reveal deeply contradicting views. On one hand you have a number of individuals who are deeply ashamed and regretful for their involvement, though most state that they had no idea what was truly happening. On the other, views that come across shocking and unexpected, a continued belief in the overall goals of the Third Reich. Holland’s film opens the conversation and never allows it to breathe, needing much more than the film’s runtime to unpack what is shared. Alarming parallels between actions taken in the first half of the twentieth century are drawn, but never explored; much of the direction is guided by the interviewees with minor historical footage and photos added.
What results is a rather boring documentary that, while always interesting, does little to set itself apart from the plethora of others on the topic. It isn’t until the late stages of the film that the most controversial viewpoints are revealed, but unsatisfactorily left for the audience to consider. Final Account simply does not have a palatable structure, though Holland’s questioning and persistence in a film that has taken over a decade to compile is to be commended. Final Account lacks the direction necessary to deliver the impact intended.
Final Account hits theaters this Friday.
Photo from The Hollywood Reporter