Check out the often chilling ‘Look Who’s Back’

Just wanted to bring to your attention a fascinating dark comedy that recently made its appearance on Netflix, in case you haven’t seen it already.Er_ist_wieder_da_(book_cover)

In English, it’s called “Look Who’s Back.” But it’s a German film, and the original name is “Er ist wieder da.” It’s based on a satirical novel of the same name. Here’s the premise…

One day in the present, Adolph Hitler wakes up, disoriented, in a park located on the site of the Führerbunker. He meets up with a desperate man who has just lost his job at a TV network, who uses the Führer to turn his fortunes around. Subsequently, Hitler becomes a huge draw on a popular show called, “Whoa, dude!”

The idea is that no one knows this is actually Adolph Hitler. People think he’s a brilliantly ironic comedian or method actor (since he never drops out of character). They love him. And many come to love him for the wrong reasons.


What makes this interesting is that it punctures our smug assumptions that we moderns are so much better than those awful people who live in the past. Two of the most chilling moments:

  • Hitler is delighted by many aspects of modern life. He particularly is drawn to the Web, especially because anyone can make use of it, without editors or other conventional controls being in the way. When he learns that no one ultimately controls Wikipedia, he is delighted. He sees the opportunity that provides.
  • HUGE SPOILER ALERT: Repeatedly, the Führer runs into everyday people on the street who are filled with indignation over the way nonEuropean immigrants are flooding into their country. Hitler encourages them in this, and declares, in the very last line of the film, “I can work with this.”

Because, you see, while everyone else thinks their using Hitler — to drive TV ratings and such — he is single-mindedly bent on rising to power again.

Oh, and don’t think this is just a German problem, given how well politicians with similar messages are faring in this country in this election year…

4 thoughts on “Check out the often chilling ‘Look Who’s Back’

  1. Brad Warthen Post author

    An interesting phenomenon about this film is that while the actor playing him doesn’t look exactly like Hitler, in some weird way he looks MORE like Hitler than the real thing. His face is more angular, stronger, hungrier, more predatory. This is a face to leap back from in fear…

  2. Brad Warthen Post author

    Oh, and if you do watch the film, you should know that what you see in some of the scenes of “Hitler” chatting with regular Germans on the street — some of whom hug him and urge him to, for instance, bring back labor camps — was REAL.

    That was unscripted. And the actor was seriously freaked out by how warmly he was received. He was relieved when one woman started hitting him…

  3. Brad Warthen Post author

    No interest in this, eh?

    I’m never sure whether people are going to engage on a pop culture post.

    Maybe it’s because few of you have seen this. I don’t know.

    I was going to do a post on the interesting (to me) Norwegian TV series “Okkupert (Occupied),” but now I’m having second thoughts…

    1. Doug Ross

      Pop implies popular, right? Hadn’t heard of it until you mentioned it but I will give it a shot.

      Anyway, if I want to hear something new about Hitler, I’ll go to and read their latest Trump analysis.


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