28 June 2012 | RJBurke1942
When life-changing events occur, every day, somewhere.
Germany tends to produce intelligent, thought-provoking drama – in politics, war, business, family and so on. This production is no different, albeit somewhat slow paced (and perhaps too slow for some viewers) and seemingly ill-focused, at first.
The casting is good, even excellent, with Sebastian Koch as the main character, Dr. Hans Frick, and Wotan Mohring as Christoph Zach, both giving riveting performances. The supporting cast is uniformly good also. And, I can't fault the standard of production.
Yet, by the mid-point – after a lengthy Act 1 – I realized that I'd seen a story like this one before: structurally, AAS is similar to Amores Perros (2000), that great movie about how the lives of three disparate and unconnected families become inevitably intertwined by tragedy. Where this one differs from AP, however, is the timing of that tragedy. To some extent also, AAS has some affinity with Crash (2004).
Still, it's an interesting threesome we meet: a high-powered hospital psychiatrist and wife with a marriage perhaps on the rocks; an entrepreneurial couple who split when she finds true love in another man; and a woman who attempts to seduce the psychiatrist after bringing him a present from her dead sister. With judicious cuts and scene changes, all three circles of action are more or less treated in a linear fashion; so there is really no difficulty in following all three, and keeping track of progress.
So, when the plot moves into Act 2, we know intuitively that something will happen to the troika of troubled people; the fun, so to speak, is trying to deduce exactly – or approximately – when and what will occur. Coupled with that rising suspense, we also become aware of a separate tragedy of almost classical irony when Christoph invites his former girlfriend, Sarah (Mina Tander), to his office to help him with a new music project. That meeting goes horrifically awry...
Which, in turn, is the crucial piece that must fall into place to allow the second tragedy in Act 3. Despite that downer, though, the final scene provides a measure of hope. Or was it simply resignation to the reality of the life you have? I'm still not sure.
Hence, despite the apparent slowness of narrative flow, I didn't fidget about, or look at a clock; so, I guess I was just a bit impatient to see if my comparison with AP was justified. I wasn't disappointed. Neither will you be, should you see this movie.
Give this a good seven out of ten. Recommended for all, except young kiddies (they'd be bored).
June 28, 2012