This is a beautiful film. So well acted - I was gripped and my husband, who was passing and not really into this kind of thing, ending up being drawn in and watching the end of it. This is an indie film which should reach a much wider audience, and it's nice to see a gay film where although there is a gay angle, it is not the only story. This ultimately is a universal story about love, betrayal and heartbreaking decisions.
It's rather heartbreaking to watch because you can sort of tell it can't end well and you don't know who to root for - Marc who does his best to resist and finds himself town between Bettina, who he really does seem to love and be attracted to, Bettina who is vulnerable and about to lose it all (the shower scene nearly made me cry), or Kai who does fall in love with Marc, but who has got himself into this difficult situation and dragged Marc in too.
It's subtle but raw at the same time. It's beautifully filmed, with lots of use of shadows. It's quite morally ambivalent - as is life. There are no clear cut answers here.
I would have liked it to be made clearer how much time has passed as it is difficult to work out how long Kai and Marc have been involved, which makes Kai's love for Marc seem rather quick. I'd also have liked to have seen more affection between the two men because at times it seems more lust than love. The ending was the only possible ending in the circumstances but I'd also love to see a sequel with a happy end to the character arc - for all 3 of them.
Apparently it's been branded the German Brokeback Mountain for its obvious similarities, but I enjoyed this a lot more. I always thought BM was a film about homosexual men made for a heterosexual audience. I don't believe that's the case here.
It tells the rather tried and tested story of a man (Marc) realising he has feelings for another man (Kay) at a time in his life that is ironically inopportune.
However, it's disarming and affectionate nature allows that it pulls off the whole "straight-guy-who-belatedly-realises-he's-not" with a fresh feel, assured script, and (always a winner) damn good acting. It's entirely natural and therefore believable; you'll find no contrivance here, no clumsiness. Indeed, a factor that sets this apart from similar films I've seen is the confident way it displays affection. Once you get past the initial and (a tad unnecessarily) awkward encounters there is a wonderful intimacy conveyed between the pair that isn't obscured by excessive shadow or so brief it would be missed in a blink. This lingering is wonderful and I hope emulation will follow!
I would have enjoyed a few more conversations between Marc & Kay in order to voice the progress of their relationship, particularly Marc's. There's only really the one in-depth discussion and it is so well done - full of subtleties, frustration and affection - that it made me feel the loss of similar scenes all the more.
This is an accomplished, confident film that is sure to please the most discerning viewer. It explores the ultimate perils of suppression and the fools it will not suffer, as well as the prejudices people harbour and the damage they can do. The ending is a tad ambiguous but thankfully not as tragic as the film leads you to believe. However, it is likely the most realistic there could have been, and leaves a wealth of possible outcomes to ponder.
Released in Germany as `Freir Fall' this has been compared to `Brokeback Mountain', but apart from it being about a man who is gay in a heterosexual relationship, I can't really see any other similarities. We meet Marc who is a cop and he has a pregnant girlfriend and what appears to be a life plan. Then at the academy he meets Kay who is more free whelin' than him and after getting off on the wrong foot they slowly hit it off.
Now despite the police or polizei being all inclusive these days there is still a vast undercurrent of homophobia and this is shown and there is some violence. Soon Marc realises what he wants and moreover who he wants but societal pressures and the arrival of his new baby son are all contributing to make him want to hurt the one he really loves.
This is a rather good film the two male leads are always guaranteed to put in a solid performance. Marc is played by Hanno Kofler - `Krabat' and the excellent `Summer Storm'. Kay is played by Max Riemelt - `Napola' and `The Fourth State'. The sub titles are good to ok as they are not always a literal translation which I know some prefer but I like it told straight. This is a film that will not tick all the boxes, the ending especially may fail to deliver for some viewers; there is a limited amount of scenes of a sexual nature but nothing to frighten the horses of even a randy pony to be honest. However, this is still a very strong film with some excellent performances indeed - recommended to fans of gay themed cinema.
Gay films can be a bit hit or miss but this is the latest in a run of outstanding releases over the last few months, including Monster Pies, Let My People Go!, and Les Invisibles. It's one of those films you look forward to seeing as much the second time as the first, leaving you with a sense of emotion you want to re-enter. The tone is fairly serious, although the relationship between the two police cadets does have an element of ribbing. The plot outline sounds like an identikit drama but it is much more engrossing than this would imply. Hanno Koffler (Marc) is a familiar face from the excellent comedy Summer Storm, where he played a super-confident gay rower; here he is much less sure of himself, as an all but married man, about to be a father, but suddenly taken over by gay desires for a fellow recruit. The latter, called Kay, turns out to be something of a free thinker and rebel, despite his chosen profession, initiating Marc into smoking spliffs. One of these, blown from the mouth of one to the other, leads to the first lip-to-lip contact: a thrilling moment which initially makes Marc jump back when he senses what is really happening. But his instincts soon take over when Kay presses his attentions further in a couple of fairly breathtaking sequences, it has to be said. Some of the scenes do get a real intensity between the actors, which are often fairly short. There is an electric charge that Koffler (in particular) and Max Riemelt are well able to convey, while Katharina Schuttler does well with a less rewarding role as the girlfriend, Bettina. Only Marc really comes across in three dimensions, though (actual 3D could have enhanced it in certain ways - see below!).
Parallels with Brokeback Mountain are there - Bettina even looks a little like Anne Hathaway - but as another reviewer has said this film feels "gayer". Where the visuals tended to the pictorial in Ang Lee's film, here the look is much darker with stark contrast between light and shade, and more up-close; the interiors themselves are a little bland. The camera is not very focused on the setting, but rather on creating mood and emotion, as it prowls after Marc and looms over his shoulder as if it might lick his ear, and you notice his solidity and the marvellous boyish shape of his head. The intimacy between the men is more explicit and joyous, and there is more nudity. In BM you felt Ang Lee was worried he might put off the straight audience, but you don't get the feeling the director Stephan Lacant is unduly concerned with that. In fact Lee's film, with hindsight, seems a little dull in its plodding through the respective family sagas, in a way that this one largely avoids through its sexual exuberance. Koffler does manage to get a lot of intensity and confusion into the role, and I only regret one of the scenes showing his beautiful rear end as he pulls on his pale blue underwear in the showers at the gym got deleted. (A scene with him pushing a lawnmower almost makes up for this, shot from this height.) Fortunately this Peccadillo release allows you to view it - and a number of other out-takes - as an extra.
This movie is a cautionary tale about NOT letting a gay person near your life. The gay guy in this movie forces himself onto an innocent straight guy. Tempts and leads him to gay sex, drugs and night clubs. Destroys his marriage, newly born child included. Destroys his relationship with extended family. And finally vanishes, leaving poor straight guy with absolutely nothing. I have a strong suspicion this movie was financed by Christian fundamentalists.
On the plus side, this horror story is told with good looking guys and beautiful countryside.