© Wild Bunch/Central

Die Nachbarn von oben
Switzerland 2023

Opening 1 Jun 2023

Directed by: Sabine Boss
Writing credits: Alexander Seibt
Principal actors: Ursina Lardi, Maximilian Simonischek, Roeland Wiesnekker, Sarah Spale, Uma Thoenen

The Swiss director Sabine Boss’ simplistic, character driven film leaves a lot to be desired. The plot revolves around sex and its intrinsic conundrums for participants. In this particular situation the characters involved are an older and a younger couple that happen to be neighbors.

The sleep interruptions from nighttime activities overhead have Tom (Roeland Wiesnekker) and Anna’s (Ursina Lardi) nerves on edge. Hoping to alleviate the situation, Anna invites the neighbors down for drinks without consulting Tom, who clearly does not like her idea. They are on the brink of cancelling when Salvi (Max Simonischek) and Lisa (Sarah Spale), armed with bottles of wine and appetizers, arrive. After introductions—Salvi proudly announces Lisa is a psychologist—awkward conversation too-quickly veers toward people’s intimacy in relationships. The longtime married Tom and Ann are repulsed, intrigued by the freewheeling couple from upstairs.

Alexander Seibt’s screenplay theme is outdated; attempts at humor is ponderous, the flat dialogue dull. The cast save the film from tedium: Lardi and Wiesnekker’s cat and dog confrontations parlay Spale’s underlying dogmatic slant and Simonischek’s curious, and nicely comedic, involvement in the highs and lows of the evening’s ongoing pursuits. Production values are fine. There are some laugh… O.K. chuckle-out-loud scenes. Not enough. Neither couple is interesting enough to spend the evening with. (Marinell Haegelin)

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