With "Das weiße Rauschen" and "Die fetten Jahre sind vorbei" Hans Weingartner was well on his way to become one of the most promising Austrian directors. Then he goes on to make this movie and his talent seriously has to be questioned.
"Free Rainer" seems like the story an over motivated class representative would think up. The little message that the movie has got - most of what's on television is stupid - is driven home with a mallet. The conclusion - people watch whatever is on, and if you give them "intelligent" television they'll be more than happy to imbibe it - is implausible, to say the least.
The acting and editing are awkward for the most part. The usually mediocre Gregor Bloéb shines as a sleek program director, but the rest of the cast is forgettable at best. From the get go, when Rainer (Moritz Bleibtreu) drives through the streets, drinking Vodka, toting a gun and a baseball bat, listening to "aggressive" music (Downset's "Anger"... Jesus Christ, you seriously live in the past, Weingartner), you can't help but wonder: Is this meant seriously? Is it just a dream sequence or something? Is it going to get better? The answers to those questions are Yes, No and No.
"Free Rainer" is an embarrassment, a career shatterer. Its intentions might have been good, but the result is a boring, unbelievable and annoying movie, that wishes it could maintain the anarchic power of "Die fetten Jahre sind vorbei" (which is awkwardly referenced as a "quality" movie in "Free Rainer"). Weingartner's next project will have to make up for this mess.
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