27 July 2002 | Patrick Tews
Antonio Wannek is seducing, charming - simply brilliant in a Thriller-Drama a bit too long
We are writing the year 1997, B.C. A little group of Danish rebels starts, Asterix-like, an crusade against the cultural destruction. Or are the `Dogma'-rules only the newest marketing coup to rescue the European film?
Now, `Der Felsen' is no `Dogma'-Movie, although you could suppose it after the first scenes. Washed-out, blurred pictures let foresee the worst, especially in view of the memory to the disastrous `Blair Witch Project'. The commentaries from the Off feels you to be in a book-reading and disturb the concentration on the movie heavily. Doesn't they believe in the capabilities of the audience to follow a movie? And the uninteresting holiday amour fou between an almost father and his female colleague let you extremely cold. The experimental movie seems to be failed early.
But then appears Antonio Wannek and everything changes. The talented young actor plays in the role of the adolescent `Malte' with all, the audience and his expectations, his aimless and easy love victim Katrin (the woman from the beginning) and the leader of his detention camp. No comparison with Jonathan Taylor Thomas in `Walking across Egypt' or the `Sleepers'-Boys, who simply tried to survive and find a better future. A little devil with the face of an angel. Though the evil in his head never occurs clear in the gestures of Wannek, only occasional outbursts, f.e. opposite the possible parents of his brother and the menacing separation, let you show in. Charming, like Max von Sydow in `Needful things', spreads he his spell. So, slowly, but heavy unfolds the real soul of this movie, an intense drama with thrilling elements and a multi-layered end.
A nomination for the German film award as best actor was the only logical consequence (He didn't get it!), but it would be unfair to describe it as Wanneks movie. Because the original main character is Katrin (Karoline Eichhorn), a woman in the mid of the 30ies. Disappointed from life, is she searching for variety, affection, love. And expose herself in the love affair with Malte, who could be her son. Eichhorn transports the different situations and the permanently changing feelings convincing. Ice-cold and insensitive during her sexual affairs, which seems to be only a bad compensation. Then behaving like an adult, as she seems to have understood her role and responsibility towards Malte. Though, in the next second, she become naively addicted to this one again, a fatal passion.
There is another possible explanation for the chosen form of art (pictures, commentaries etc.). They want to save money. Every Cent could help the former German media giant Kinowelt, one of the producing firms. My hint: If they hadn't stretched the movie unnecessary, they could have save more, especially at the beginning. But then beautiful pictures (diving sequence!) and a great cast made a worth seeing movie. Despite of the lack of new elements, you shouldn't leave it after half an hour!