Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB.
Alternate title: Oh Boy
Germany, 2012. Schiwago Film, Chromosom Filmproduktion, Hessischer Rundfunk, ARTE. Screenplay by Jan Ole Gerster. Cinematography by Philipp Kirsamer. Produced by Jorg Himstedt, Marcos Kantis, Birgit Kamper, Martin Lehwald, Michael Pokorny, Alexander Wadouh. Music by Cherilyn MacNeil, The Major Minors. Production Design by Juliane Friedrich. Costume Design by Benedikt Lange, Juliane Maier, Ildiko Okolicsanyi. Film Editing by Anja Siemens.
Niko’s day gets off to a bad start and only gets weirder as the hours progress: following an immature cop-out with his girlfriend, he meets with a court officer about a traffic infraction that results in having his licence suspended, then later has lunch with an actor friend, they run into an old friend from grade school with whom he has a bad history, he visits the set of a cheeky take-off on bad World War II films, attends a highly experimental play, gets into a fight with some street thugs and then meets an old man in a bar before ending up in a hospital waiting room.
It’s a lot to deal with in 24 short hours, particularly since the running gag through the whole thing is that Niko, played with perfectly delicate apprehension by Tom Schilling, is constantly trying to get himself a cup of coffee but is thwarted at every turn. That conceit sounds far too adorable and the rest of it like something twee and contrived, but it’s actually a fresh and spontaneous film shot in gorgeous monochrome. Friederike Kempter is superb as his childhood friend, her ambivalent feelings about running into a former bully one of the most perceptive aspects of this skillfully directed film.
European Film Award: Best European Discovery
Nominations: Best European Film; Best European Actor (Tom Schilling)