Here is a movie that knows how to confuse. It isn’t a bad movie at all; it’s a rather compelling story about a serial killer; Silence of the Lambs style, but with the flair of Small Town Europe. So let’s start with the story. A Berlin cop named Seiler manages to capture serial killer Gabriel Engel, who confesses the murder of 14 boys. During the investigation, it turns out that Engel was in the area where a 12 years old girl was killed, in a small village outside Berlin. The country cop Michael Martens is brought in to help interrogate Engel and find out if he also killed the girl.
What irritates me will likely not irritate someone who doesn’t speak German or is familiar with German language TV in general. First of all, it seems very odd that German A-listers – most notably Wotan Wilke Möhring as Martens and Heinz Hoenig as Seiler – are the key players, yet Norman Reedus (who plays a cop with no lines who is in the movie for roughly 3 minutes) is listed in the opening credits. Why is he even there? I don’t understand. However, this is just a small distraction, considering the screentime he has and the complete length of the movie (just above 2 hours).
André Hennicke is just great as Gabriel Engel, but he would also be great as… Jürgen Milski. For context: Jürgen Milski’s claim to fame is coming in second in the first German season of Big Brother, a lifetime ago, after which he moved on to a C-list “celeb” for no particular activity. His career includes some party animation on Mallorca and “Ballermann-Parties” and appearances on shows like Dancing with the Stars, I’m a celebrity – Get me out of here, celeb cooking shows and hosting a call-in quiz show. It is confusing as hell if the depraved child killer is a dead ringer for a the archetype of a carnival cruise DJ. And this is why I say André Hennicke does a hell of a job in this movie – he’s convincing as killer despite having a lookalike like that.
The last quite irritating point only comes up for German native speakers – it’s Seiler, the seasoned city cop, who exclusively speaks in slang terms. I have no idea what the writers were thinking here. You simply don’t hear cops refer to DNA evidence as “the jizz of that sick cumfuck”. At absolutely no point does this character talk like an actual cop, or even a regular person – it seems like an attempt to be gritty and grizzled, but it sounds like a 9 years old kid trying to get a reaction from teachers by using vulgar terms. This is very distracting, and if I wouldn’t find it even worse to watch dubbed movies, I would have switched to English during the movie.
Famous Last Words: Surprisingly good movie that manages to overcome most of the irritating things, but not all.