Look Who's Back (German: Er ist wieder da, [ʔeːɐ̯ ʔɪst ˈviːdɐ daː]; translation: "He's back") is a 2015 German comedy film directed by David Wnendt, based on the bestselling satirical novel of the same name about Adolf Hitler by Timur Vermes. The film features unscripted vignettes of Oliver Masucci as Hitler interacting with ordinary Germans while in character, interspersed with scripted storyline sequences. It was listed as one of eight films that could be the German submission for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 89th Academy Awards, but it was not selected.
Adolf Hitler (Oliver Masucci) wakes up in present-day Berlin, in a park where his former wartime bunker once stood, and with no memory of anything that happened after 1945. He is disoriented and interprets modern situations and things from a Nazi perspective. Everyone he meets assumes he is an actor impersonating Hitler. He arrives at a newspaper kiosk and begins to read about modern day issues in Germany. Through these newspapers he discovers a completely different ideology from the country he left and not an ideology agreeable to his taste.
Hitler next meets Fabian Sawatzki (Fabian Busch), of the television station MyTV, who had been coincidentally filming a documentary about the children of Berlin in the park where Hitler awoke. Sawatzki proposes to use Hitler in a television programme. An idea for an animal-centred show ends suddenly when Hitler shoots a dog with a concealed pistol. Hitler suggests that the subject of the film be politics. The two set out on a journey to different places in Germany, with Hitler talking to the people being filmed, learning about their issues, and promising to help. Hitler finds himself disillusioned with the German political spectrum. He disparages the ruling CDU as "Bavarian social drinkers", and still bears a strong grudge against the SPD as the party of his old enemies Friedrich Ebert, Paul Lobe, and Otto Wels. The only party Hitler mostly agrees with is the Green party as their program is similar to his Blut und Boden campaign. In the meantime, Hitler becomes a street sketch artist to earn money for the programme.
After returning to Berlin, Sawatzki introduces both Hitler and his programme idea to the MyTV station chiefs. The MyTV chairman, Katja Bellini (Katja Riemann), decides to use Hitler in one of the MyTV comedy shows. Before the show, Hitler learns about the Internet and uses the Web to learn about the modern world and prepare his return to politics. While on air, Hitler presents his old plans for world domination, but he unintentionally becomes a big comedy hit. As Hitler's unintentional prowess in comedy increases, Christoph Sensebrink (Christoph Maria Herbst), one of the MyTV executives, discovers the unedited scene from Sawatzki's documentary where Hitler had shot the dog. Sensebrink shows this footage on air, ruining the burgeoning career of both Hitler and Bellini, and resulting in his own promotion to station chief.
With the help of Bellini and Sawatzki, Hitler publishes a new autobiographical book about his new life in the 21st century, titled Er ist wieder da, and it becomes a bestseller. The book's popularity overshadows Hitler's controversy over the dog he had killed. Soon after, the book is turned into a film. Without Hitler, ratings and ad revenue at MyTV drop precipitously and Sensebrink, after a fit of rage which parodies Hitler's breakdown scene in the German drama film Downfall (also distributed by Constantin Film), decides he must publish Hitler's new film.
Hitler plays himself in the movie and during the filming he is beaten by two Neo-Nazis who believe him to be a fraudulent impersonator. Hitler is hospitalized, but the news of his beating generates sympathy and he returns to high standing with the German people. While Hitler is recuperating, Sawatzki reviews his old footage and discovers a Terminator-esque ball of energy in the background, after which Hitler first appeared. Returning to the site, he finds burnt leaves. With horror, he realizes that the Hitler he encountered is the real person all along. He rushes to the hospital to confront Hitler, but he only finds Katja, who says that Hitler was back at the movie studio. When Katja doesn't understand him when he says he found the real Hitler, Sawatzki trashes the hospital room in frustration.
Sawatzki arrives at the movie studio, where he forces Hitler on to the roof at gunpoint with his own pistol. Calmly, Hitler replies that he was elected by the German people, and if he is a monster, then so is everyone that voted for him. This prompts Sawatzki to shoot Hitler in the face, where he falls off the roof to his apparent death. Suddenly Hitler reappears behind Sawatzki, claiming he cannot be killed, as he is a part of every German. This entire scene was revealed to be a part of the film, and Sawatzki was merely a body double in a silicone mask. The real Sawatzki had been committed to a mental hospital following his previous outburst.
Once the work for his film finishes, Hitler senses that he is on the path to a political comeback. He is more popular than ever, and nationalist Germans give Hitler hope that Germany might be ready for his return to power. With Hitler and Bellini riding in the back seat of an open Mercedes convertible and amongst images of actual politically motivated right-wing demonstrations, The film ends with Hitler's words, "I can work with this".Oliver Masucci - Adolf Hitler
Fabian Busch - Fabian Sawatzki
Katja Riemann - Katja Bellini
Christoph Maria Herbst - Christoph Sensenbrink
Franziska Wulf - Franziska Krömeier
Michael Kessler - Michael Witzigmann
Thomas Thieme - Senderchef Kärrner
Michael Ostrowski - Rico Mancello
Lars Rudolph - Kioskbesitzer
Ramona Kunze-Libnow - Mutter Sawatzki
Gudrun Ritter - Oma Krömeier
Stephan Grossmann - Staatsanwalt Göttlicher
The film had box office success, reaching number one in Germany in its third week of release.
Boyd van Hoeij of The Hollywood Reporter gave the film a poor review, saying that it "... doesn't ... suggest something meaningful about either contemporary German society or whether Hitler's ideas and methods could potentially take root again". Adam Taylor of The Independent, writing about the response of Germans to the filming itself, called the results "surprising" and a "little disturbing".