This Austrian drama starts as a love story between a scruffy ex-con and a Ukranian prostitute, but evolves into an interesting character study. It takes a while for the film to settle down and the central storyline to emerge, but it is quite absorbing. The acting is excellent, particularly Strauss and Thanheiser. Spielmann's direction is assured and marked by visual elegance. He doesn't use any flashy camera-work, but manages to infuse every frame with a sense of foreboding. The pacing is deliberate (about 10 minutes of screen time is devoted to watching Krisch cut wood), but it never drags. The Austrian countryside is beautifully shot in this low-key and rewarding film.
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