This film really explores how fascism and (for example) Nazi Germany have been able to happen.
Rainer Wegner is a liberal and popular high school teacher who has been landed with the task of teaching a project class about autocracy. Both he and his students aren’t happy about it, so he decides to teach them in the form of an experiment, showing them how easy it is to fall into the easy trap of ‘wanting to belong’.
However, the experiment soon gains a momentum that moves out of his control with some dramatic consequences.
This is a really powerful, dramatic film, with some fantastic acting. It probably feels even more poignant, being German – I’m not sure whether it would have been the same made in another country.
And that in itself is a contradiction as the book that the film was adapted from (The Wave by Todd Strasser) was based on a real life experiment by a Californian teacher!
This is a brilliant film, with a real ability to grasp how individual personalities work within a group. An unsettling must-see.
My rating – 9/10