If you want to know what's wrong with contemporary German film-making, watch this: a totally predictable story (travel writer goes to a small North Sea island where a not-so-brief encounter with a boyhood sweetheart nearly breaks up his marriage), pedestrian pacing, excruciatingly pretentious, fashionably color-drained photography that seems to cry out, "Look! It's art!" at every turn, and dialog so wooden ("You want a map?" - "Well, it might be rather convenient for my purposes") it creaks on its rusty hinges. The overused players, chosen from the usual pool of about 50 mugs that can be seen on German TV virtually every night, don't go but sleepwalk through the motions as if the director deliberately spiked their lunch-break drinks with valium, except for Suzanne von Borsody who acts and talks as if prior to shooting she spent two weeks in a recording studio dubbing a rubber duck in a children's animation film. All the stock clichés generally associated with remote North Sea islands are there: the inbred village idiot, the fuzzy-bearded, pipe-smoking captain of a fishing trawler, the small and dusty second-hand bookstore, the picturesque little guest-house, you name it. To top it all off, the score consists almost exclusively of appallingly arty piano tinkling heavily indebted to Chopin and Satie (and very probably written with a certain beer commercial in mind) - only the incessant use of scratchily played cello sonatas could have been more unnerving. In a word: execrable.
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