Needs a while to really get going, but in the end it is rewarding
"Spieltrieb" or "Gaming Instinct" is a German movie from 2013, so it will have its 5th anniversary next year. The director is Gregor Schnitzler and the screenplay comes from Richter/Schlagenhof, two pretty experienced writers. They adapted the novel from Juli Zeh. The cast includes Michelle Barthel, Jannik Schümann and Maximilian Brückner playing the main characters. The bigger supporting players are Ulrike Folkerts (from Tatort), Helmut Berger (not the famous one), Richy Müller and Sophie von Kessel. The film runs for approximately 100 minutes and takes us into the world of teenager Ada and what happens when a new teacher and a new classmate enter her life and make a really memorable impact that will always be a part of her. To go further into detail, I will have to include a couple spoilers, so maybe stop reading if you haven't seen the film yet. The girl and the clearly sadistic, megalomania classmate, who sees the world as his stage, come up with a plan that she will seduce her teacher. It all works out, but things quickly develop in a way that may not make our (female) protagonist happy anymore again as the teacher is dependent on the sadist's moods from that moment on and he has more up his sleeve for sure. I still must say that Schümann does all he needs for the character to be interesting, even if it is a very thankful role with which you really could not have done a whole lot wrong. I think Brückner plays the most difficult role and he manages it nicely I guess. Barthel also gives a good performance and i think she makes the subtle parts work really nicely. Admittedly, physically, she is also pretty perfect for the character and I can't deny there was something very arousing about her plot and story-line as she plays a very smart character and a girl who is stunning in her own (totally not mainstream) way.
As I already wrote in the title, I was not too convinced this could turn into a quality watch early on. The way the new student enters class felt very much over the top and it hurt the film more than it helped. But luckily, things got better quickly and it turns into a pretty nice psychological thriller with drama and romance elements. And another thing I really liked here is that you could never expect the way things would be going eventually. And how it all would end. Still, I am not entirely satisfied with the ending. I think it may be a bit too much on the forced happy ending side and honestly the final part with the travel is a bit on the pretentious side as well. So they definitely could have done better with regard to this. I still believe though that the movie is very much worth seeing, especially in the second half and I think they did a good job with focusing on three characters only, but really focusing on these and make them work. They succeeded there and I am kinda glad limited actresses like Folkerts do not take away too much screen time here. It's a solid achievement. A positive surprise and I recommend seeing it.
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