Friedel does well with the thankless task of playing a man slowly mobilised by the Nazis' increasing dominance throughout the late 30s leading to his attempt on Hitler's life in the Bürgerbräukeller. More concerned with his burgeoning relationship with a married woman, Elsa (Katharina Schüttler) in his small Southern-German village, these flashbacks struggle to grapple with a wider discourse on Nazi collusion and resistance. Friedel manages to convey Georg's intellect and charisma with a cocksure charm and a growing sullen intensity, but largely viewed in isolation - as the real Georg was - it lacks power and insight with regards to the political context. There are moments of interest but they are nothing that audiences have not seen dozens of times previously. What proves to be more effective are the scenes after his capture.
Though punctuated with familiar and unpleasant torture, this part of the film also explores the internal wrangling surrounding the need to pin the attempt on Communists rather than accepting it is the personal work of one man. Burghart Klaußner plays Nebe, the officer tasked with interrogating Elser who is conflicted about attempting to force a false confession of conspiracy when it is clear the plan was self-devised. Indeed, he is also the face through which Hirschbiegel suggests the beginnings of questioning of Hitler's guidance within the party - though, of course, such insubordination cannot stand. Sadly, these more intriguing elements are largely lost beneath the otherwise plodding narrative, and while this might be a definite step in the right direction for Hirschbiegel after the universally derided Diana (2013), 13 Minutes is a long way from the mastery of Downfall.
Ben Nicholson | @BRNicholson