Thursday, August 1, 2013

Netflix Finds: Erik Eger & Magnus Oliv's ONE HUNDRED YEARS OF EVIL

I like a mockumentary almost as much as I like a documentary, especially when it's got lots of layers of complete WTFery. So I'm pretty much exactly the audience for something like Erik Eger & Magnus Oliv's One Hundred Years of Evil, which concerns itself with a (fictitious) researcher and documentary filmmaker's pursuit of proof that Adolf Hitler not only survived World War II but came to America and continued to mastermind evil in his adopted homeland.

The fun starts right in the opening credits, where we keep seeing an improbable yet euphonious name over and over again: Idelfonso Elizade, named as the auteur but not, it turns out, an actual person. But soon we're immersed in stranger things as our researcher character, Skule (quoth my roommate "Dude, I wish I had a name as cool as Skull") starts unearthing secret after secret, his discoveries and interviews intercut with "found footage" in which, for instance, our maybe-Hitler sitteth on the (camera) right hand of Joseph McCarthy almighty, bobbing his head right along with everybody's favorite Red Scare menace as he lectures about the insidious threat of Communism in post-war Amurrka or makes a brief and totally deadpan stage appearance with a troupe of transsexual singers for whom he served as a roadie for a while.

Meanwhile, Skule starts getting harassed by unseen forces eager to keep the truth hidden and starts getting entertainingly paranoid in an almost Blair Witchian fashion. And the hilarity continues. My roommate and I laughed our asses off. You might, too.

If I have a criticism, it is only this: too many of the performances were a little too on the nose, spoiling the illusion that this actually was a documentary. No one ever made the amateur mistakes of looking into the camera, no one ever stumbled or paused in delivering their lines, it was all just a little too perfect, and thus obvious that these were actors playing crazy sources and not just crazy sources. But perhaps that, too, was intentional, a further sending up of the documentary format and its conventions? I'm just not sure.

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