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Marina Antunes [Film Festival 10.14.10] Germany movie review drama

Year: 2010
Director: Thomas Arslan
Writer: Thomas Arslan
IMDB: link
Trailer: NA
Review by: Marina Antunes
Rating: 8 out of 10

From Germany comes yet another film of bad men doing bad things right after they get out of jail however, unlike The Robber (review) Thomas Arslan’s In the Shadows works at every turn.

The film opens with Trojan walking out of jail. His first stop: the home of a man who we presume to be the organizer of whatever plan landed Trojan in prison to begin with. After collecting a small portion of the money owed to him and ruffling a few feathers to collect the rest, Trojan sets off to find his next gig. A careful planner, he bails on the first job offered because his accomplices are unreliable rendering the job too risky but he finds what he’s looking for with the help of his lover Dora, a corrupt lawyer. The job, an armoured car heist. The plan is perfect as is the execution but with a mob boss hot on his heels and a corrupt cop looking for a cut of the action, things go south quickly, ending in tragedy, the least of which are a few dead bodies.

Though Arslan’s film is pretty standard genre fare, what is not is the meticulous way in which it’s executed. There’s no frivolity in either the planning and execution of the crime and there’s little of it in the way this film is directed either. This is a no frills heist film that lacks any of the high octane chase sequences and near misses that usually propagate the genre. Not that those aspects aren’t present but they’re muted, just another part of the day to day life of an active criminal.

In a film where everything is turned down to low, performances are key and Arslan rounds up a fantastic cast led by Misel Maticevic in the role of Trojan. He’s cool, collected, never misses a beat and has more than enough magnetism and screen presence to keep the audience enthralled for the film’s duration. Equally good are Uwe Bohm in the role of the unlikable crooked cop and Karoline Eichhhorn as Dora but this is Trojan’s story and Maticevic really is the shining star, making the jump from TV and bit roles to leading man and doing so in memorable style.

In the Shadows isn’t a film that everyone will enjoy. Its cookie cutter plotting leaves little to the imagination and there aren’t any new contrivances or twists presented but it’s rare to see a film this so controlled and gorgeously captured so often in, as the title states, the shadows. Sublime.

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HASSAN (11 years ago) Reply

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Anonymous (11 years ago) Reply

I just saw this at the "Film Neu" fest in DC, and thought it was amazing. Very slow paced, but captivating, and when it finally bursts into action, it's quite a thrill.
The music is incredible, building the perfect atmosphere, but never distracting. Fantastic sound design by Biosphere (Geir Jensson).

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