Channel 5 have been serving up some factual feasts recently – to think they used to be channel you’d stick on as a last resort – and we can’t get enough.
It seems that, unlike the rest of us, they’ve thrived in 2020. And they are spot on once again with this harrowing history doc recounting the story of the Nuremberg trials. Comprised of contemporary interviews, archive footage and newly digitised courtroom clips, the feature-length documentary shines new light on the 1945-46 military tribunals, where 21 Nazi leaders appeared in court, charged with the deaths of millions of innocent people during the Second World War. Despite the title making it sound like one of those flashy, true crime Netflix series, this film is suitably sombre. We don’t have the dramatics of a narrator, and the whole thing is seriously stripped back, making plenty of room for us to gawk in horror at what we’re watching. In fact, you could have read every book ever published on the trials, and you’ll still watch in complete disbelief as these men feign innocence, and act horrified when being forced to watch footage of the pain they themselves inflicted. It’s a captivating watch, if utterly horrifying.
This fascinating film seems to have slipped through the nets of most of our broadsheet reviewers, however The Times’ James Jackson gave it a stellar review. He says, “The film was concise, perhaps overly so, but derived fascination simply in showing the trial footage of the 21 Nazis in all their apparent complacency.”
First shown December 2020. You can watch the trailer by pressing play on the show image, or by clicking here: