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Film / The German

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"A British fighter pilot pursues the German ace that shot down his friend across sky and country... with murder in mind. But he discovers it's not so easy to kill a man when you have to look them in the eye."

The German is a 2008 Irish short war film written and directed by Nick Ryan, starring Toby Kebbell and Christian Brassington.

It follows a Royal Air Force fighter pilot during a tense air to air duel with a German foe during the Battle of Britain. Locked in a fight to the death, neither pilot knows how the war will end for them...

The German includes examples of the following tropes:

  • Ace Pilot:
    • Both pilots are supremely skilled, each getting the edge on the other repeatedly in a back-and-forth running battle.
    • Red Leader's Nose Art indicates that he has been credited with four and a half kills, just shy of the five needed to be an Ace (and he splashes his fifth early in the dogfight).
  • All There in the Manual: All characters' names are only given in the credits. Red Three is listed as Squadron Leader AC Barton. The German is listed simply as "The German".
  • Antagonist Title: The German.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: The man on the ground who watches both planes fly overhead.
  • Closer than They Appear: Red Leader catches sight of The German in his fighter's rear-view mirror, shortly before the first burst of machine gun fire neatly bullseyes the mirror.
  • Combat Breakdown: A dogfight between two fighter planes turns into a running duel with Hand Guns, before devolving to a desperate fistfight in the woods.
  • Come Out, Come Out, Wherever You Are: Red Leader, stalking The German in the woods.
    Red Leader: It's no use. There's a truck there now, they'll send another five. The whole town saw us come down. You can't stay out here forever.
  • Determinator: Red Leader, by far.
  • Dramatic Guncock: Red Leader, due to using a revolver, does this before each shot.
  • Honor Before Reason: Red Leader's guns end up jamming or running out of ammo. Rather than let the damaged German plane escape, he proceeeds to fly alongside him and clip wings to force the other plane down, at the expense of his own.
  • Instant Death Bullet: Red Three's plane takes multiple hits, but it's clear that the one bullet through the cockpit is what kills him.
  • Ironic Echo: "I'm afraid this war is over for both of you."
  • Killed Mid-Sentence: Red Three.
  • More Dakka: Both the Bf-109 and the Supermarine Spitfire both mount multiple machine guns, though special mention goes to the Spitfire's battery of 8 .303 machine guns mounted in the wings.
  • No Name Given: The German.
  • Nose Art: Red Leader's Spitfire, aside from the iconic (and possibly ironic) RAF bullseye roundel, has four German crosses painted on it to show his kills.
  • The Radio Dies First: Early into the fight, a machine gun round flies through the cockpit and hits the English pilot's radio.
  • Reality Has No Subtitles: All of The German's dialogue is untranslated.
  • Red Shirts: The German's wingman, and Red Three. Plus the multitude of other aviators involved in the briefly glimpsed much larger battle who are all Out of Focus.
  • Revenge: Red Leader's motivation.
  • Ramming Always Works: How Red Leader takes the German pilot down. Both manage to survive the resulting crash.
  • The Reveal: The pilots crash landed in neutral Ireland, and will both be interned for the duration.
  • Sacrificial Lamb: Red Three, who is killed early in the dogfight, after getting in a few lines of dialogue.
  • "Shaggy Dog" Story: After the fight is finally over, both pilots are revealed to have crashed in the neutral Republic of Ireland, and are interned for the duration of the war.
  • Wham Line: After Red Leader has captured The German and brought him to the troops at the edge of the woods.
    Father: Welcome to Ireland, gentlemen.
  • Where Do You Think You Are?: "Welcome to Ireland, gentlemen."
  • Wing Man: Red Three, who is given a brief reprieve by Red Leader before he is killed by The German.