Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBB.5. Germany/France, 2017. Bombero International, Macassar Productions. Screenplay by Fatih Akin, Hark Bohm. Cinematography by Rainer Klausmann. Produced by Fatih Akin, Ann-Kristin Hofmann, Nurham Sekerci-Porst, Herman Weigel. Music by Josh Homme. Production Design by Tamo Kunz. Costume Design by Katrin Aschendorf. Film Editing by Andrew Bird. Cannes Film Festival 2017. Golden Globe Awards 2017. Toronto International Film Festival 2017. Washington Film Critics Awards 2017.
Diane Kruger is devastated when a bombing takes the lives of her loved ones, leaving her with nothing but sorrow and more than a few questions: who did it and why? The police are convinced that the victims of violence, who were Turkish, were involved in shady business or targeted by rival underworld characters (essentially victim-blaming Muslim citizens), but the clues that Kruger provides eventually brings Neo-Nazi villains to trial and she must sit in a courtroom and hear their clever lawyer defend the details of the case. Told in three separate chapters detailing different spheres of action, Fatih Akin’s politically motivated thriller is not the most complex affair you’ll ever sit through, but thanks to intelligent writing and a detailed and dedicated performance by Kruger in the lead, the film’s easily delineated morality is never insulting or manipulative. What seems at first to be yet another European exploration of one character finding her way out of a dark emotional place becomes a riveting courtroom drama before the conclusion takes her on a vengeful mission to a remote town in Greece. After a story that has become a fascinating and compelling thriller, the final scene is a dramatically arch conclusion that, thanks to its complete humorlessness, does feel a bit too on the nose.