Germany, 1977. A mature, rich and bored woman called Elisabeth (Elke Aufderheide) is taking a ride with the "Rheingold", a first-class high-speed train of the seventies along the river Rhine. In the train she is meeting her old school mate and lover who is working as a waiter and falls in love with him again. Her husband, a busy politician, realizes what's going on and tries to catch the train to face his wife and her lover in a fatal showdown.
That's the whole storyline of this well-shot German independent movie, but director Niklaus Schilling ("Nachtschatten", "Der Westen leuchtet" and "Der Willi-Busch-Report") uses weird editing techniques and lots of flashbacks and dream-like sequences to explain what going on - and what could have happened. This is sometimes to much for the viewer, and you fastly get lost within the narration and plot, as Schilling becomes to fascinated by the sheer contrast between the fast-running train (perfectly shot in the beautiful Rhine valley landscapes) and the slow and paralyzed acting of the persons involved.
In the last 30 minutes, Schilling only shows the nameless woman sitting in her cabin, bleeding to death after a knife attack by her husband and staring out of the window while being watched by another well-looking woman and listening to the narration of an older passenger about the Rhinestone tale. This long-lasting sequence is only interrupted by moody flashbacks of her first encounters with her husband and lover and surreal love and sex scenes.
This extreme movie style is the strength of this movie as well as its weakness at the same time - the thrilling story and the beautiful pictures get lost in the slow pacing and the sometimes too lame direction. In the end you will fall asleep during the film is running, or you will stay awake and be confused and fascinated at the same time. "Rheingold" is not as good as "Nachtschatten", but still one of Schilling's better movies. Give it a try.
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