Escaped prisoner as decor for reliving-the-past dialogs with lots of wine and smoking
This is the second film in the Dreileben trilogy, screened as part of the Ghent filmfestival 2011, all three having an escaped sex offender chased in the German woods as a common theme. Compared with the other two films, I found this one the least attractive, mostly due to the many intertwining story lines that are difficult to follow, plus that too much time is spent in reliving-the-past dialogs.
A positive aspect in comparison with the first film (Beats Being Dead), is that none of the many story lines is forgotten. All of them come to some sort of resolution, though not all will bring the happy end you were waiting for.
Nicely integrated in the overall theme, for example, is the sub-plot of corruption in the local police force. The main character of the film, police psychologist Johanna, is regarded as an outsider from "the city", hence not received with a warm welcome. Later on we see that her investigations are not well received either, causing some violent scenes around the house where she temporarily lives. In itself not the core of the film, but it has its role in connection with an escaped prisoner who may be waiting on every corner and behind every tree. An inexplicable leakage in the water pipes is another such sub-plot, giving rise to the suspicion there is an uninvited lodger around the house.
The least interesting part of this film were the wine riddled evening sessions, where old memories were revived. Though these memories were needed as an ingredient for some further scenes, these were way too long and uninteresting for my taste. I think this must be me, as I heard other people consider these as the best parts. Nevertheless, these scenes were needed for the film to come to a logical end, so had their function and could not be missed.
I'm not sure about the emphasis on everyones smoking habits. We see it from the very beginning, for example the grand mother with her personal interpretation of what the doctor ordered. An ever larger amount of cigarettes is burnt during the reliving-past-youth sessions mentioned before. We see large amounts of smoking in ancient films, but nowadays if feels odd and extraordinary to see it that much in front of camera's.
To conclude: Of the three parts of this trilogy, I found this one the least entertaining,. I got lost in the many story lines, wondering how one could be able to tie all loose ends together. They succeeded in this nevertheless, what can be considered a positive aspect of this film. But I still don't particularly like that long dialogs get the upper hand, a negative aspect that I find more important. I would mark this film with 3 stars (out of 5), keeping the middle road between good and bad.
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