Nice combination of closely following an escaped prisoner and an inspector out-thinking his next steps
This is the third film in the Dreileben trilogy, screened as part of the Ghent filmfestival 2011. Though all centering around an escaped prisoner chased in the German woods, this one stands out as following the sex offender very close on his tracks. That part takes around ¾ of the time, showing considerable parts of the German woods as a bonus. We can see with our own eyes that these are no uncharted territories anymore. The latter livens up the chase, for example when meeting someone living there in an improvised shelter.
The remaining ¼ part of the film zooms in on a police inspector. Rather than leading the chase, he follows his own line of thinking, and tries to imagine what the fugitive's next step will be. This not only keeps the actual chase on a safe distance, it also creates a second story line with its own interesting ingredients. It even leads to a surprising conclusion (I won't spoil this for you, so no details).
Whether you like it or not, you get involved in both paths of the story. On one hand you see the fugitive and his many narrow escapes from the search squads. We feel his loneliness, panic sometimes, ultimately sharing a sense of "lost in the woods" with him. On the other hand we see a police inspector who cannot cut himself loose from the case, in spite of his environment who deems other matters more important (an abandoned sport school needing a new purpose, friends coming to visit, preparing a barbecue, etcetera).
A nice touch of this 3rd film in the trilogy is that Johannes and Ana, the main characters of the 1st film, re-appear in minor roles and link the main events together. Was not really necessary, but nicely integrated in the story.
All in all, I liked this 3rd film along with the 1st, both deserving 4 stars (out of 5), in comparison with the 2nd film that I enjoyed least (3 stars, still not bad). Though I don't think that the general public is prepared to watch the whole trilogy in a row, all three films have their own attractive sides, each appealing to different people. My preferences can be derived clearly from the above, but I'm sure that others will support different opinions.
Anyway, we saw hard evidence that one can create three very different films from the same theme. Especially with that visible proof in mind, the challenge as it originated from an e-mail dialog between the three directors involved, the end result did work out very memorably.
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