© STUDIOCANAL GmbH Filmverleih

Germany 2015

Opening 16 Jul 2015

Directed by: Justus von Dohnanyi
Writing credits: Justus von Dohnanyi
Principal actors: Stefan Kurt, Jan Josef Liefers, Anna Loos, Milan Peschel, Maximilian Simonischek

This German, black-comedy, gangster film opens with two fat guys standing in the water, talking about their next job. Ed (Justus von Dohnányi) and Mace (Jon Josef Liefers) are hitmen, hired to protect Dr. Jürg Würsch (Stefan Kurt) in Saint Tropez. Würsch plans to do business with another gangster named Mischa (Milan Peschel); he secretly hopes that he will also score with Mischa’s wife Lydia (Anna Loos). Lydia is manipulating both of them, as she is enamored with the family bodyguard, Johann (Maximilian Simonischek). One disaster follows the next as communication and loyalties between the eight adversaries fail. (Mischa’s mother is also in the picture.)

The plot is less than original and “outsiders” might find little to satisfy them, besides the beautiful photography of the southern coast of France and the impressive mansion, home of Lydia and Mischa, as well as the wonderful music. Anyone struggling with the German language (and maybe even some native speakers) will soon get lost in the confusing plot which randomly jumps around, with no obvious goal, as the participants clench mobile phones with connections going nowhere.

On the other hand, “insiders” or residents of Hamburg, like myself, will find much to enjoy simply because we are well acquainted with the director/scriptwriter/actor/producer Justus von Dohnányi and his buddies: actors/producers Jan Josef Lieders and Stefan Kurt, who have all performed in Hamburg’s Thalia theater over the years (as did Oscar Ortega Sánchez who plays the policeman). Lieders is especially loved for his scenes in the TV series Tatort where he plays the police coroner, Professor Karl-Friedrich Boerne. Von Dohn’nyi said that he made the film on a shoestring, i.e., half as much money as one episode of Tatort would cost. He got support from the Filmförderung Hamburg Schleswig-Holstein as well as a few others. The main actors worked for nothing. He said, he had long wished to work with his old Thalia colleagues and got the idea for this film from a friend who told him about a thief who went down the chimney of a vacation home in Spain, got stuck, and suffered painfully. This scene definitely counts as one of the Desasters in the film. Poisoned lipstick is another Desaster. Go for fun and enjoy the moment without attempting any deep interpretations. (Becky Tan)

The theaters below show films in their original language; click on the links for showtimes and ticket information.
Interviews with the stars, general film articles, and reports on press conferences and film festivals.
Subscribe to the free KinoCritics monthly email newsletter here.