Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Jerichow: A German movie review

A German soldier back from a tour in Afghanistan after a dishonourable discharge finds himself penniless in a non-descript,poor Northern German town of Jerichow. The movie begins at his newly inherited family home following the death of the main character's mother. Thomas loses the mothers' inheritance(some leafy euros in 50 notes) to a bunch of low-lifes he owes money from a gambling debt. He has to make ends meet as a cucumber harvester at a large commercial farm- a colourless,dead-end job. Then comes a chance meeting with a wealthy Turkish business man (Ali) who has his car, a Range Rover, stuck near a river after a drunken stupor. Because the cops have a trail on him and want to take Ali's driving license,the Turk asks for a favour: can he claim it was the ex-army man who was driving so he can save his driving permit? And so begins a life of temptation and a sure recipe for disaster. The rich Turk has a much younger attractive wife called Laura. It almost love at first sight between Laura and Thomas. Thomas is soon offered a job as the rich Turk's consigliere, quickly winning his trust or does he? Ali has a chain of supermarkets with a very canny business sense. But he has issues with trusting people. He believes all who work for him in his multiple retail businesses are untrustworthy and cheating him. He doesn't even trust Laura and spies on her constantly. You see, Ali and Laura are not an ordinary couple. Ali literally purchased her by buying off her hefty debt. Its a transactional relationship peppered with wife battery and emotional abuse. Ali treats Laura like one of his possessions. Laura longs for something deeper. Thomas and Laura soon fall desperately in love. They seem to fill the void in each others' lives. Laura in an unrequited marriage and Thomas in an empty life. But there is a problem. They are all broke and they are all economically dependent on Ali. Ali soon announces that he has to go away to Turkey to check on his relations and asks Thomas to take charge of his multiple business concerns. Is this an incredible opportunity for Thomas and Laura to sink into their wildest lustful desires or is this a test for both? Rottentomatoes.com usually awards a percentage mark for movies it reviews and I would give this movie a 68% rating. It is certainly worthy of your 90 minutes. The plot and concept of the movie is a brilliant one although it is not as brilliantly executed and more could have been demanded of the leads. There is alot more dramatic potential and opportunity that the director squanders. This is a good movie but it could have been a great movie. It is a little understated for those used to Hollywood-fare. Overall, one of the best German movies I have seen in a long-while.

No comments: