6 November 2011 | Bloodwank
Nihilistic early Uwe Boll offering
Its interesting now that Uwe Boll seems to be pursuing some sort of artistic intentions with his cinema to see this early work and realise that his mainstream offerings were never his first love, that he had some sort of a plan all along. I've actually only seen one of his films, the lamentable Seed so I have no comment on his general qualities, but Amoklauf is a successful little film if not an especially entertaining or interesting one. Its a study in a private and dysfunctional personality, in lonely obsession and ultimate bloody breaking point. Our nameless protagonist is a waiter, but mostly he stays at home watching videotapes, a German game show, slaughterhouse and execution footage apparently from Faces of Death and finally a porno. He also fantasies about murder, masturbates and philosophizes that man is a worthless creature who will suffer anything just to survive. Not a pleasant or stable individual in essence, and the film puts us right there with him. We watch his TV through his eyes, sometimes we watch his TV with him, sometimes we watch his face as he watches his TV. We see his apartment as well, sometimes we see him go about mundane rites and sometimes we see him just sit there. Its a fitting mixture of ennui and unpleasantness, as the film goes a cold, twitchy feeling accumulates, and a bleak tension along with nagging boredom, by the final ten minutes its hard not to fair pray for the guy to snap. And snap he does with memorably grim intensity in a skillfully stylised scene that uses changes in film stock, slow motion and grainy close ups to highlight the alienation, granting an almost lyrical mood. A classy cap off in other words and it pretty much makes the whole experience worthwhile. On the whole this is difficult to recommend though. Its a film that cares little for engagement, nor poetry or depth in its subject. It works as an exercise in nihilism, perhaps almost perfectly as unlike something like Angst it lacks visual fascination or genuine fear, it doesn't transcend its subject matter with much in the way of added aesthetic value until the climax and that's just a fraction of the overall runtime. But this bare nihilism simply isn't that fulfilling, it works somewhat as a curio but as cinema is frankly a bit lacking. Not that I actually disliked the experience, I've just come to prefer work that has more to offer. A bit hard to rate this one as it does what it sets out to do, isn't actually bad and may even be pretty worthy to some tastes. 5/10 oughta cover it I think.