Zishe is a young Polish-Jewish locksmith with delicate feelings yet great physical strength. Discovered by an entrepreneur, he is persuaded to go to Nazi Berlin to impersonate the strongest man in the world.
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Werner Herzog's offbeat historical fable is wholly unique and very interesting, but ultimately disappointing. An incredible true story and some very memorable visual imagery aside, it's slow-paced and far too long. The performances are uneven - Tim Roth is a standout, and Udo Kier is a lot of fun in a small role, but much of the cast is strangely stiff and amateurish. Definitely one of Herzog's lesser films.
Man, that whole chunk of film with Tim Roth is great. Everything else, though? Very flawed and awkward. Except the soundtrack and cinematography. Some terribly monotonous acting and unearned over-sentimentality. They had Udo Kier! Why didn't they use him properly?!
Herzog's best. Dialogue, acting, location, setting. An utter masterpiece. Sure it may have been better being honest on language geographically and historically but ... er...well...er. As it goes this film is one of Werner Herzog's favorites and he was a little mystified by it's relatively poor reception.
This for me was honestly the worst Herzog film I've seen. Granted there was the traditional appeals to Werner of a strange outsider who winds up doing something great and there were some nice nature shots but the story was lob-sided. The acting was terrible and simply the flow was so choppy. Not a fan.