Friday, 9 July 2010


Austrian director Gotz Spielmann’s latest movie opens with three consecutive images, a heavy object is thrown into a still lake, secondly a youngish man is mowing a large area of grass at his country home while his wife prepares a meal, finally a sleazy looking man is visited in his cheap Viennese apartment by a attractive coke snorting east European girl, they make love in his shower. All three very different images become clear as Ravanche (2008) unfolds.

We discover that the east European girl is from Ukraine, her name is Tamara and she works as a prostitute in a brothel called, of all things, Cinderella. The sleazy looking character is an ex-con called Alex who also works in the brothel as a sort of man Friday. After an associate of brothel owner mistreats Tamara the couple escape from the city and stay in a remote village where Alex’s grandfather lives on a smallholding. They plan to rob the bank.

The youngish man who we saw cutting the grass is Robert, a policeman, married to Susanne who desperately wants a child but Robert may not be the man he thinks he is, by the way did I mention that that Robert and Susanne are neighbour’s of Hausner, Alex’s grandfather! The plot thickens nicely.

This strong story, written by Spielmann, escalates from a drama that completely holds your attention to an absorbing thriller. Its pace is such that you have time to take in every detail along with its narrative twists and turns. There’s some very convincing acting from all the cast especially from Johannes Krisch who plays Alex, he’s the type of actor that does not have to say very much to convey his feelings. The movie is a cross between modern German cinema like Gravity (2009) and the best of American film noir. Nominated for the 2009 Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film. Highly recommended.

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