Schilf (2012) Poster


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Tries to be too smart for its own good
filmreviews@web.de21 June 2017
Warning: Spoilers
"Schilf" or "Schilf - Alles, was denkbar ist, existiert" is a German 90-minute movie from 2012, so this one has its 5th anniversary this year and it was written and directed by Claudia Lehmann based on a novel by Juli Zeh. I have seen the other film "Spieltrieb" based on Zeh's work and I must say I liked that one better, maybe because psychological thriller is more up my alley than sci-fi mystery, but maybe also because the execution is just smarter and more fulfilling. but back to this one here. For Lehmann, it is probably her most known career work and this has to do with Waschke, Erceg and Heerwagen being part of the cast all 3 successful and prolific actors from Germany that enjoy long-running careers. It is the story of a scientist who has been working on parallel universes for a long time and what happens when his friend, another scientist comes to town and also the immediate consequences of the protagonist's discoveries on his family (especially son) play a major role here. So you could see the film also as a family drama and honestly, there is always the opportunity that the central character has just gone insane and lost it, but the main focus in this film is still on the Sci-Fi aspect, no doubt about. So in terms of the family drama about the (allegedly) abducted son and the husband's jealousy, it falls really flat. It also isn't helping that the child actor's line delivery is really horrible and I guess that's the main reason why he does not have that many lines. The worst example is probably when he says something like if it is possible that he and his dad can be right with most difference statements about the abduction. Besides, no kid in this situation would have said that.

Anyway, the more experienced actors I mentioned earlier try their best to turn this film into a decent movie, but the script just won't let them. It is packed with pretentious quotes from everybody involved really and the depth beyond the surface feels almost non-existent nonetheless. I must say I have not read the book by Zeh, so no idea if the book is the problem or if the adaptation is the problem, but I believe that the original writer cannot be happy with the outcome. There may have been a clear vision in the makers' minds, but the transition to the screen was not successful in this case. The final scene is the very best example of that. Sure you can interpret it in all kinds of different ways, but hardly any of these feel particularly witty or creative and almost all of these feel just for the sake of being even more controversial, shocking and you can even say pseudo-intelligent. Sure science fiction offers a lot of room that films from other genres do not have, but this genre also requires a very special approach to make a film work in this particular universe. I give "Schilf" ("Reed") a thumbs-down and while it is not a failure I cannot say I enjoyed it. Watch something else instead.
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