It wasn't then-trendy communist politics, a desire for glory, or prescience about Adolf Hitler's "final solution" that triggered Johann Georg Elser's 1939 assassination attempt on the Fuhrer and other top Nazi officials. Not according to screenwriters Fred and LeonieClaire Breinersdorfer's depiction of the tale in 13 Minutes.
Elser, a small-town musician, carpenter, playboy, and romantic, was radicalized by watching the Nazis chip away at his and neighbors' freedom of movement, association, and self-determination. The film shows how life under fascist states can be oppressive even for those who aren't special targets of the regime's ire. The theme is grim, but the story also serves as a testimony to the power of the human inclination toward freedom.
Elser failed in his aim, of course. Moreover, his...