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I Am Guilty (2005)
"Falscher Bekenner" (original title)

 |  Drama  |  6 April 2006 (Germany)
6.4
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Ratings: 6.4/10 from 527 users  
Reviews: 6 user | 15 critic

The story of a young man confessing crimes he has not committed.

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Constantin von Jascheroff ...
Armin Steeb
Manfred Zapatka ...
Martin Steeb
Victoria Trauttmansdorff ...
Marianne Steeb
Nora von Waldstätten ...
Katja Fichtner
...
Martin Steeb jr.
...
Stefan Steeb
Thomas Dannemann ...
Herr Kleine
Laura Tonke ...
Christiane Steeb
Dennis Prinz ...
Ulrich Wendt
Martin Kiefer ...
Richard Gassner
Walter Gontermann ...
Herr Hülsmann
Jörg Pose ...
Herr Esken
Thomas Meinhardt ...
Ernst Matuschek
Wieslawa Wesolowska ...
Josy Matuscheck
Max Limper ...
Lederboy
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Storyline

Armin Steeb is adrift: just finished with school, living with his middle-class parents, clueless about finding work. He tries connecting with a girl, he engages in risky sex with strangers in public toilets, he goes to job interviews. He also sends an anonymous letter to a local Munich newspaper, claiming responsibility for a fatal road accident. He fitfully pursues notoriety as he goes through life nearly without affect. What will it take to get Armin to smile? Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

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Drama

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Details

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Release Date:

6 April 2006 (Germany)  »

Also Known As:

I Am Guilty  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

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Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Of the film, the director has said, "The cloak of intent - however ridiculous - is lighter to bear than the 'meaningless' unhappiness of the world." See more »

Connections

References Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope (1977) See more »

Soundtracks

Approximate Music
Benedikt Schiefer
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User Reviews

 
Intriguing premise painted in vanilla
12 April 2007 | by (The Great Northwest) – See all my reviews

Is the Cannes controversy-meter remarkably esoteric, or is that we Americans are so callous and cynical that we never bother to read between the lines anymore? Be that as it may, with plenty of careful analyzing, "Falscher Bekenner" at no point seems to live up to the hyped controversy it supposedly brought to Cannes in 2005, a puzzlingly drab and aimless movie that rather lives up to it's glum American re-title ("Low Profile").

Building on familiar themes of Bourgeoise angst and subsequent sexual liberation (kind of), admittedly it's a film not without it's surface-level interests. It starts out with a grabber, as a haunting shot of a desolate off-the-highway road focuses in on a teenage drifter, who ultimately walks by a totaled car, where supposedly a brutal hit-and-run has left the driver dead in a gory mess. Stunned, he does nothing but pick up a scrap of the remaining engine.

Just out of school, the drifter turns out to be Armin Steebe, a product of the German suburbs with minimal ambition. Persisentily pressured by his caring but somewhat nagging parents to find a good job, he endures interview after interview with every haughty interviewer along with it, every one with the same fruitless outcome. Getting mighty sick of it, his aforementioned highway encounter soon provokes his first act of rebellion: claiming responsibility for the crime which he did not commit.

Pretending to fill out more applications and going to more and more bizarre job interviews by sunrise, he partakes in roadside sexual fantasies and petty vandalism way after sundown. As the days get shorter and the nights get much hotter, as he goes on living in his suburban neighborhood as if he's doing nothing out of the ordinary.

If you seem confused about what exactly is going on, don't worry about being the only one: this is about as far and coherent as the story gets. The plot seems simple enough, and perhaps due to it's seemingly direct purposes that's why "Falscher Bekenner" becomes pointlessly convoluted, becoming enamored with endless false conclusions, dreamlike situations and graphic sex scenes to try and enlighten a story lacking clear logic to an already vague argument (supposedly the soul-numbing effects of the modern suburban wasteland, or something about youth's fascination with crime. Hey, it could even be a coming-out movie.) at hand. It spends a lot of time creating numerous symbols, both tangible and surrealistically allegorical, but they don't seem to be really symbolizing anything of interest.

The most fatal flaw, however, is how the filmmakers paint all it's characters in a rough shade of vanilla. There's hardly any distinguishable traits to help understand their purpose, and how the secondary characters (especially the confused relationship between Armin and his rather normal- perhaps too normal- family) catalyze the already under-developed lead character's "plight" never comes into focus. How are we supposed to identify with this young almost-adult's rebellion, with little sense of the world he's living in or the prominent figures around him that help comprise it?

Many people drop in and out of the movie (including Armin's sort-of girlfriend Katja, and a strange, affluent visitor who for some reason finds pleasure in watching the protagonist eat brownies) and seem to exist for no reason whatsoever. They ultimately just seem like prolonged padding to an already thin story with pointless subplots that continue to prove the movie is drawing a total blank about where to go next.

And even a movie that supposedly toys with reality (especially with Armin's nightly exploits), it ends with a literal, almost moralizing head-scratcher that seems to halt questions to a "story" that does little but put it's viewer in a state of pointlessly exhausted perplexion.

Without any color, it's impossible to shade anything vital in.


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