The German Doctor takes a disturbing look at an unknown stranger that manages to infiltrate an Argentinian family.
Before starting on a dangerous road trip, a German approaches a family about following them on the drive. A seemingly normal request, the family accepts. While on the road, all of them end up bedding down in a stranger’s house to escape a downpour. Finally arriving at their destination, the family bids the stranger adieu. The stranger continues on to a nearby town.
The family has arrived at their new home, an inherited lakeside lodge that they hope to fix up. The German soon returns and offers them cash upfront to let him stay there for six months, even though the lodge is not yet ready to reopen.
The German turns out to be a doctor, a doctor in genetics with a particular interest in the growth of animals and people. (Major hint at his identity.) One of the daughters in the family is small for her age. With the mother’s permission, the doctor starts to treat her with injections that cause nasty side effects. The German also pushes vitamins and other items on to the pregnant mother who happens to be pregnant with twins. (Another major hint.)
The year is 1960 in South America. The doctor with an interest in twins and genetics is none other than Mengele. When the family discovers this and sees his notebook with detailed measurements about themselves and his previous experiments, his intervention in the lives of their twins pre- and post-natal is a bit horrifying. Rather than helping the premature babies survive, Mengele was actually experimenting on them: one was the control subject, the other the test subject.
Although South America was the destination of many Nazi war criminals in attempt to escape trial and punishment, I never really thought about why this was the case. I just assumed that it was because South America was remote and easy to disappear into. Instead, the movie depicts a large German population in Argentina; the mother in the family was actually educated in German at a German school that previously flew a Nazi flag. She is now sending her children to the same school.
The scenery is stunning. The story is set in Patagonia at a lakeside lodge; the lake rung with snow-capped mountains couldn’t be more breathtaking. The setting really is a paradise—but a paradise with Nazis in its midst.