Tuesday, January 13, 2009
Very interesting film by Götz Spielmann with a crime/drama/unconventional thriller story told at a very slow pace and with an introduction of characters that lasts almost half the movie that makes you uneasy as you know that “nothing” is happening but you get the feeling that “soon” will happen. When eventually happens the movie totally changes and from an urban setting goes to a rural setting with absolutely beautiful sets, great silences, slow pace and two men devastated by guilt.
But what I found to be truly remarkable is the outstanding use of light, with many amazing outdoor and indoor takes that really distract you from whatever is happening as you have to stop your mind to contemplate the compositions with shadows, dark in the background and warm light in the foreground. Very Beautiful!
Basically tells the story of two men, one an ex-con, Alex, and other a policeman, Robert, that cross their paths and their lives take a turn into feeling deep guilt; but nothing is simple in here and as a matter of fact I find that more than an emotional story this is a very cerebral story. As Spielmann says in an interview “the films explores more deeply the secret behind life”, so you can imagine that definitively it is not a traditional crime/drama/thriller at all.
One of the most beautiful scenes of the movie is when the opening credits are rolling and it’s really shocking that from that amazing peaceful scene the story moves to an awful urban setting in a brothel with some sex scenes that made me feel uneasy. But I believe is due to the contrast of the promise of the opening scene and the rawness that follows –even when now I think that I should have known because the opening scene ends with a stone thrown into the pond and the reflection is totally disturbed. So, if you decide to watch this movie be prepared to a brothel raw story during almost half the movie.
As you can imagine by now the movie has extraordinary cinematography that just because of it, watching becomes a true pleasure; but performances are also quite good, especially Johannes Krisch that plays Alex and tech specs are definitively well above average.
I believe that this is a very art house European movie and honestly I’m pleased that the Academy has it in the shortlist, as suggests that perhaps now the Academy members in the new voting process are definitively younger than their predecessors. The movie was premiered at the 2008 Berlinale where won the CICAE Award, the Label Europa Cinemas Award, and the Femina-Film-Prize for production design. Since then has been collecting honors in the 08 Toronto fest, 2008 Telluride fest, 2008 Motovun fest, and other awards and festivals. Most important is to remember that is Austria’s official submission to the Oscars and today we learned that is in the shortlist.
As a reference to some of my loyal readers, this movie has visuals and a style that recalls the work of Russian directors like Andrei Zvyagintsev and his amazing Izgnanie. I do recommend this movie to those that enjoy European art cinema.