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Felix is on the edge. He has got just one thing on his mind: Valerie - his wife, who has recently left him. He returns to the place of their final break-up. Valerie's ex-lover Thomas is also here, but not for sentimental reasons. By chance the two men meet in a restaurant. By chance Felix discovers who he is facing. And then starts the inscrutable game. Written by
If foreign people hear the words "Am Hang", they may very well believe it's a new Korean film. Well no it isn't. It's German. And a pretty good one actually. In the center of the film, we have a love triangle played by Henry Hübchen (husband), Maximilian Simonischek (lover) and Martina Gedeck (wife). The two men meet by chance (I won't give away the details, but it's pretty interesting in reference to the escalation near the end) and Hübchen quickly realizes that Simonischek's character is the one responsible for his wife leaving him. And her death? Of course, he doesn't share his knowledge immediately which results in a pretty exciting relationship thriller. It's a complete showcase performance for Hübchen and if there had been any doubt that Hübchen is no longer among the elite of Germany's acting branch, it's certainly gone now. Of course he plays a very showy character, but the way he creates his character, sometimes loudly, sometimes quietly intimidating, but never insignificant deserves all the accolades it gets and probably more. One of my favorite scenes is the moment when he realizes the two are talking about the same woman, but manages to stay calm and controlled and not give anything away. Simonischek does a good job too and stays on par with Hübchen for the most part, which is fairly impressive as he's worked mostly for the small screen so far. Gedeck's part is fairly small compared to her earlier film "Die Wand" (Austria's Academy Award submission this year) where she IS the movie, but in the few scenes she has, she does a decent job as well.
Markus Imboden, the director behind this, is responsible for "Mörder auf Amrum", one of the finest German films and TV films I've seen in recent years, so he had me curious for this and even if it's not as good as "Mörder auf Amrum", I still don't regret watching this fairly good little thriller. The marriage vs. romance / reason vs. adventure references have good potential. All in all, it's 100 entertaining minutes. If there is one thing I would criticize is that it went on for too long. I wish it had ended the moment Hübchen's character left the other man's house with the music playing there instead of going on another maybe 15-20 minutes and getting lost in a spiral if she's really dead or not and a big shooting showdown that was really unnecessary. I don't know how it was in the novel, maybe it worked there better, but I always hate it when a film misses the perfect place to stop, Another German movie "Zum Geburtstag" did the same earlier this year and while it doesn't destroy everything before, I sometimes wish they'd just go for quiet tension till the ending credits roll in and don't sacrifice it for a big showdown that doesn't match the tone of the film so far at all.
To end the review on a positive note, I would like to say that I liked the way they kept the central action limited to the main characters by good attention to detail in many scenes, for example the way we never see the waiter's face when the two sit at the table in the restaurant early on. This helped in creating a more tense atmosphere and all in all, I recommend this movie.
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