September 16, 2021
Luna Wedler, Milan Peschel, Anna Fialová, Jannis Niewöhner, Edin Hasanovic, Aziz Dyab, Fleur Geffrier, Victor Boccard, Elizaveta Maximová, Johann-Christof Laubisch, Anne-Marie Ponsot, Marie Kühn, Marlon Boess, Mélanie Fouché, Valery Tscheplanowa, Vanessa Loibl, Katharina Rivilis, Ruzica Hajdari, Tabea Bettin, Sára Sandeva.
Maxi, a terrorist assault victim, meets Karl, a seductive student, and joins a European youth organization that has the seizure of political power as its only goal.
Berliner Alex has a peroxide-blonde daughter named Maxi. There are no elaborate special effects used to recreate the devastation caused by the explosion. Instead, Schwochow focuses on the fall of a struck bird among the dust and rubble. If you can get beyond the fact that the whole scenario is obviously planned and scripted, it’s still an intriguing metaphor.
Because he had just left the building to get something from his vehicle, Alex had miraculously survived. Maxi had also departed for work before the blast. But Ines, the children, and seven other people are killed. That’s when she ends up drifting farther and further away from her father and closer and closer to the beautiful titular Karl (Jannis Niewoehner). He understands just how to use her anger and bewilderment for his own ends and purposes. For Karl, Re/Generation Europe is a fictitious organization that sells “polished” and marketable extreme right ideologies. Generative Identitaire in France, as well as the Identitaere Bewegung Oesterreichs in Austria, obviously influence this movement.) In the beginning, Maxi is just a spectator at these meetings, but the film is predictable enough for viewers to know that she would soon step upon a rally stage and become the center of attention herself.
Since then, Schwochow has been increasingly involved in high-profile television, directing, for example, The Crown’s “Prince of Wales learns Welsh” episode and the first season of the top-rated German series Bad Banks. That experience seems to have given him the ability to set out situations for maximum effect on a bit of budget, which is impressive. (The frequent use of narrow focus and highly saturated colors give the impression that the work is suitable for a music video.) On the other hand, he seems happy to let his characters wander in their situations quite a bit. If character arcs span many seasons, this isn’t a problem. This is a fast-paced film, and it’s hard not to be carried away at times. However, there’s a persistent feeling that Schwochow and screenwriter Thomas Wendrich are content to have their characters merely carry out their acts without making them feel or experience them emotionally.
Highlights include the few times when we are reminded that our heroes really do have emotions. One such instance is when Maxi tells Karl why she misses her mother in an adorable sequence.
What’s left is a smattering of engaging performances. Although Niewoehner’s character appears more enamored with the limelight his political beliefs give him than the ideas themselves, he nevertheless manages to be captivating. Also, as the rebellious daughter and heartbroken father who no longer understand one other in their odd-couple arrangement, Wedler and Peschel are believable.