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Austrian small time crook Johnny Pichler meets a dubious 'businessman' at the Slovak border to hand over a wad of cash. Things do not go as planned and suddenly Johnny is on the run with callgirl Shirley, the money and the gangster's Cadilliac. After several fruitless attempts to sell the car, Shirley dumps Johnny, who has hopelessly fallen in love with her. Based on an address on a photo, Johnny decides to search for her in Lviv in the Ukraine. Written by
Armin Ortmann <firstname.lastname@example.org>
I'm in love, but I'm too lazy to get my act together...
I had high expectations about this film, hearing incessant chatter about how good it was from my Austrian colleagues. I've seen more Austrian/German films than most North Americans, and I keep an open mind knowing some real gems come along once in a while. The rating on this site also gave me that impression, but frankly, it didn't meet my expectations.
This film is the perfect vehicle for the talents of Victoria Malektorovycha who steals the show. Sure, it'll sell tickets because of Hader and Buck, but neither shine here. Hader sleep-walks through the movie--he's far too low key, often saying nothing or so little the audience is forced to guess what he's really thinking or feeling (his lack of reaction at times makes you squirm). Buck is 'three's a crowd' and really just adds some comic relief to Hader's panface.
The locations are interesting, and the types of situations one might encounter in the Ukraine (being held up in an alley), driving around in an old taxi, add to its sense of realism; the trip from Austria through Slovakia and into the Ukraine is entertaining. The music is nicely choreographed and adds to the road trip feel.
Where it fails is in the relationship between Malektorovych and Hader. We are supposed to believe she sees something in him. She dumped him for a reason in the hotel. Why should it be any different later? She clearly has some interesting connections; probably to the underworld and possibly as a stripper. I saw nothing in him that would attract (in her own words): such a beautiful young women. He offers her nothing more than his time. The result is that the romance between them never properly develops.
Some contributors to this forum obviously disagree, but I was left unconvinced of their passion for each other, especially when you consider the dramatic show of love at the end. If he loves her so much (that he buys her a boat ticket), why didn't he make his way to the dock before the boat sailed? Is he so dense that he believes the receptionist where the ticket was supposed to be picked up and just hangs around until the last moment?
If you saw the movie, ask yourself, was their love deep enough to drive them to the extreme we see at the end of the film...with the fade to black? Had the director showed us something more than casual interaction between them, I might have believed. Still, putting the lack of character building to the side, the film captures the essence of what one contributor calls European cinema and brings out a few laughs. 6/10
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