16 July 2006 | moabitnik
Noirish little would-be thriller
Feeble (and rather ludicrous) attempt at German film noir. Söhnker's the hard-nosed news-hound who has written a story about an "easy" way to score a bank. When his article serves as a blueprint for a robbery involving a double murder, he becomes the prime suspect but manages to flee custody and hunt down the real killer on his own. What starts out interestingly, pretty soon turns into a routine little thriller complete with hard-drinking (almost every scene in which two male characters meet starts with their knocking back a shot of "schnaps"), hat-wearing men pounding dimly-lit streets in heavy rain, negligéed femmes fatales running smoky back-room gambling dens and scrubbed, squeaky-clean secretaries secretly in love with their boss.
While Kurt ("Ich denke oft an Piroschka") Hoffmann certainly is one of the more accomplished directors of German post-war cinema and Albert Benitz's moody camera-work and Werner Eisbrenner's brooding score are excellent, this never rises above mediocrity, due to a script which is, at best, formulaic and contains just about every cliché known from hundreds of 40s Hollywood thrillers. The actors (including the miscast lead) seem strangely uninvolved and struggle with the - mostly preposterous - dialog (hardly anybody ever utters a sentence someone might say in real life - an unfortunate tradition which has continued up to this very day: dialog in German films often sounds like a bad translation, simply because everybody in this country - including screenwriters - has been raised on poorly dubbed films) and scenes which, at times, simply don't play. Everything seems interminably drawn-out, and each and every little detail is spelled out so that even the most lame-brained viewer gets it. Which, all in all, makes for a rather tedious affair to sit through.