In the Oscar-winning drama “The Counterfeiters”, director Stefan Ruzowitzky looked into the Nazi era. His new thriller looks back even further, to Vienna, 1920. It offers a few surprises.
Berlin – fans of Matthias Schweighöfer have to be patient: The German film star, best known for comedies such as “Keinohrhasen”, “Zweiohrküken” and “100 Dinge”, only has a guest appearance shortly before the end of the thriller “Hinterland”.
However, it has it all. Schweighöfer grabs the audience in a few minutes with a multifaceted, in-depth character study.
He embodies one of the opponents of the main character of the effective film. This is ex-detective inspector Peter Perg (Murathan Muslu). In 1920 he returned home from a Russian captivity. Nothing in his hometown Vienna is like it was before the First World War. His wife moved to the country with the child. The emperor, for whom he once went into battle jubilantly, is no longer. The Republic of Austria pushes broken men like him into the social out of the homeless shelters. He feels lost, useless, drained.
When a serial killer brutally murdered Peter’s former comrade, he comes under suspicion. At first only the coroner Theresa Körner (Liv Lisa Fries) believes in his innocence. Desperate, he goes in search of the real culprit. In doing so, he descends on increasingly dangerous paths into the shallows of his own wounded interior.
Thanks to ingenious computer technology, the atmospherically dense film is astounding in terms of appearance alone. It’s like old postcards come to life. More decisive for the enormous tension, however, is the refined narrative style. Director Stefan Ruzowitzky, who won an Oscar for the best foreign language film in 2008 with the anti-Nazi drama “Die Fälscher”, relies on an effective narrative style based on the classic crime thriller.
Psychologically precisely drawn figures lead into a society that measures the value of people solely by their appearance. Which gives the film a surprising presence.
The biggest surprise, however, is Matthias Schweighöfer’s guest appearance in the final. He inspires the way he quickly portrays a person who has been sidelined by social injustices. The socially critical component of the drama is thus powerfully underlined. At this year’s film festival in Locarno, the film received the coveted audience award.
Hinterland, Austria, Luxembourg et al. 2021, 99 min., FSK from 16, by Stefan Ruzowitzky, with Murathan Muslu, Liv Lisa Fries, Max von der Groeben dpa