Dominik Graf, generally regarded as being one of Germany's foremost directors, has so many friends and acquaintances among German TV and movie critics that he could probably film the Munich phone directory, and they would sink to their knees and sing his praise. Unfortunately, he has never really made a picture to justify his reputation, and this disastrous little outing no doubt is a case in point.
A pensioner has been brutally clubbed to death, a teenage whore who extorted substantial sums of money from the poor sod is the prime suspect, and the film follows the plodding interrogation process leading up to the hardly surprising denouement of the less-than-complicated story.
So much is wrong here that I don't know where to start: None of the characters - some of which, such as the lesbian girlfriend, seem totally out of place and devoid of any recognizable purpose to the plot - is even remotely interesting or worth caring about. The acting is significantly below par - even the usually reliable Edgar Selge seems clumsy and bland, and Rosalie Thomass' one-note performance won't prevent her from garnering some kind of acting award for her impressive ability to shake and tremble and faultlessly roll hundreds of cigarettes. The dialog is lame and wooden - the best lines are invariably spoken completely out of character; and that Thomass, who's supposed to be an undereducated lower-class kid coming from a foster home, none the less converses in a perfectly polished way throughout, should suddenly start breaking just about every existing rule of grammar in order to justify the film's stupid title ("He must dead"), is hardly believable. Worst of all, though, the pace is so incredibly leaden that the whole thing is literally sleep-inducing. Of course, Graf realizes this and thus tries to liven up the tedium by constantly diving into his grab-bag of cinematic tricks: as a result, there's a downright ridiculous amount of extreme close-ups, jump-cutting, zooming (is this 1972, or what?), dollying, fading etc. About a dozen times a train rushes across the screen for no good reason, probably trying to suggest that there's something really heavy going on. To no avail; when, at last, the credits rolled, I felt as if I'd just sat through Andy Warhol's "Empire". Twice.
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