Well, I thought I'd finally struck out on one of my little New German-language films" from the filmfest. I grabbed a late showing after a long, hard day at work, with a raging icestorm feckin things up outside.
Since the movie is up for an Academy Award for best foreign-language film, I knew I should expect tolerable-to-good production values; I'd probably be getting Austria's spiffiest movie from last year.
Things started out well/poorly. Early scenes showed urban grit from Vienna, with a quick sex scene, and a sex club as the principal setting. The movie had a neo-noir feel, and featured a young-to-middle-aged hood setting himself up against the mob for whom he worked.
** YAWN ** . . .
I was prepared to fill out my ballot with "good" or "okie dokie," rather than the "excellent" I'd been checking off.
But then the action left the city. And heretofore minor characters assumed greater importance. And the taciturn leading character got *more* quiet, but the actor and director opened up and let us into what was going on with the actor -- with seemingly obvious emotions, only to learn that these emotions were built on different, deeper feelings. And then plot twists -- but [forgive this stupid phrase], they weren' the predictable twists. We all know the "wow, I didn't see that coming -- except I knew something was coming, and gee, this makes sense" feeling from Hollywood movies. Here, when I would see something coming, it would actually -- ARRIVE. And then turn out to have colours and shapes that I didn't expect.
The performances are top-notch. The pacing is leisurely without being lethargic. The cinematography is excellent, as is the subtle scene/set/location design [I guess smart folk call that "Production Design"].
Since this might win an Oscar, you might get a chance to see it. It's directed by the same cat who directed Antares a few years back. If you don't get to see it, rent it from Netflix and watch it on your little or big TV at home [which is the next best thing, I guess, to seeing it].