In 1960, South America, Mr. Polsky (David Hayman) is a Holocaust survivor who enjoys spending his days being grumpy and harsh to those who dare to try and interact with him. Polsky lives an independent life, keeping busy reading the daily newspaper, playing chess or doing work around his home, such as growing black roses. Polsky is also a lonely man. The house next door to Polsky is currently up for sale, although someone has scratched out the contact details on the sign, making it hard for those interested.
However, a scratched-up sign doesn’t stop Polsky from getting a new next-door neighbour. When a mysterious man moves in, Polsky can’t help but be curious and nosy about his new neighbour. Soon, conflict arises between the two men. Polsky’s new neighbour, Herman Herzog (Udo Kier), has a dog that enjoys doing its “toilet business” in Polsky’s yard. To make matters worse, Herman soon claims that the fenceline should be further out, which naturally interferes with Polsky’s property. The correction of the fence line means Polsky will lose his prized black roses. As Polsky seeks vengeance on his new neighbour, he suspects that his new neighbour could be none other than Adolf Hitler hiding in secret! Polsky begins to conduct investigations to prove who his neighbour truly is, but no one around him will accept his theories and claims it’s nonsense. With no other choice and determined to get some solid proof, Polsky decides to try and become friends with Herman, hoping to obtain some unquestionable proof. However, despite Polsky’s mission, a unique friendship begins.
My Neighbour Adolf is best described as a drama and mystery film, but to my amazement, there are also some fun moments of comedy which was unexpected. The drama aspect is carried heavily by the character of Polsky, who is not only a Holocaust survivor but a man continually hurting and suffering on the inside. The mystery of whether Polsky’s new neighbour is Adolf Hitler or not is a fun concept, and the comedic side of things is delightful and entertaining. The two grown men bickering back and forth at one another is witty, and watching them act childishly or immaturely is enjoyable. As a unique bond and friendship occur, the film becomes more enjoyable. I found myself eager to know the outcome, particularly for both of our leading men.
Watching Polsky conduct research or investing his money into new camera equipment takes the audience on a journey to discover the truth. Performance-wise, I felt both actors, David Hayman and Udo Kier, were terrific. David Hayman successfully brings a comedic performance in one scene and a deeply gripping and saddening one in the next. It’s easy for audiences to have compassion towards his character, given all the conflicts and hurt from both the past and present. Actor Udo Kier plays more of a mysterious role, and the actor does this wonderfully. His character is also stubborn, secretive, and at times, competitive.
Overall, My Neighbour Adolf is a delightful feature that contains drama, mystery and, to my surprise, some doses of comedy. Once the mystery is introduced, it’s impossible not to feel invested and eager to know the outcome of the compelling story and the consequences for both leading characters. Performances here are excellent, and David Hayman and Udo Kier’s bouncing off one another is terrific to see. Both leads, so different to each other, bring many characteristics to life while sharing a slowly earnt, convincing friendship. I felt various emotions while viewing, making this film highly pleasing and ultimately worthwhile.
My Neighbour Adolf (2022) is Available in Australian Cinemas from April 27th.