ZDF is running a quiet thriller with Katharina Schlothauer as a childminder, whose intentions remain unclear for a long time. The TV review.
Frankfurt – They didn’t look for each other and yet they found each other, designer Nika and educator Mona, who were overwhelmed as a “working mom”. After the birth of her second child, Nika finally wants to go back to her job, Mona has time: More “win-win” is not possible, especially since the two women like each other right away.
Since Nika’s little son Mona immediately accepted as a second mother, this film could tell a not very exciting story about the typical problems of a family in which a woman is denied self-realization because she takes care of the children; nevertheless, she has to earn money on the side because the house hasn’t been paid off yet.
However, the title “In the wrong hands” already indicates that the plot will eventually change genres. In fact, it is above all the expectation that something bad will happen that gives this drama its underlying tension, especially since Holger Joos (script) and Mark Monheim (director) also superficially set a corresponding sign with the prologue when Mona (Katharina Schlothauer) being followed by a stranger in the underground car park.
ZDF thriller “In the wrong hands”: Godsend or rather a she-devil?
After this thriller start, however, the film radically changes its sign: Mona is studying the job advertisements in the newspaper on a playground when she sees a boy start a daring climb and promptly fall. The mother (Pegah Ferydoni) is distracted, but Mona catches little Leon; and so begins the female friendship.
Nika is enthusiastic, as is her husband Tom (Florian Stetter), after initial hesitation because he couldn’t find anything about Mona on the internet. The couple discovers the almost forgotten passion for each other; Leon is much more balanced than he used to be because Mona is literally there for him day and night. And so everyone would be helped if it weren’t for the little irritations, because the nanny seems to want to turn the boy into another child. In addition, Nika feels more and more pushed out of her role as a mother; promptly begins a kind of competition between the two women for the boy’s favor.
Because Monheim’s staging keeps the plot in limbo thanks to the targeted use of small shock elements, “In the wrong hands” could develop in all possible directions. For Nika, Mona is a godsend. “You’re an angel,” she tells her, and of course the appeal of the film stems from the question of whether Mona isn’t more of a devil.
ZDF thriller “In the wrong hands”: Quiet desperation
Her motives remain completely unclear for a long time: does she want to kidnap Leon? Does she want to take Nika’s place, as suggested by the unmistakable detail of the applied lipstick during a trip together with Tom and the children? And who is the man (Aurel Manthei) from the underground car park who seems to be after her? When Tom drives her to the police to report the guy, she secretly escapes.
Katharina Schlothauer’s reduced play does not allow any conclusions, even if the restrained image composition (Rebecca Meining) nourishes doubts about her mental health: her sparsely furnished apartment in a residential silo is consistently kept in gray, while the house of Nika and Tom is always inviting and homely works.
When Mona is standing in the couple’s kitchen in the evening, the slats on the window look like bars. The closeness of the camera to the main character underscores Mona’s quiet desperation. Flashbacks gradually reveal that the woman had a horrific experience involving a young boy.
The thriller “In the wrong hands” can be seen on September 12 at 8:15 p.m. on ZDF and in the ZDF media library.
ZDF thriller “In the wrong hands”: Remarkable performance by the children’s actors
“In the wrong hands” would be worth seeing simply because of the trio Schlothauer/Ferydoni/Stetter, but Monheim’s work with the six-year-old Sole Inan Aktas is far more remarkable; Anyway, Anne Walcher’s casting agency is the first address when it comes to children. The lively curly head acts completely naturally, and the emotional closeness to the two “mothers” is never out of the question.
The second boy (Paul Teske) is chosen just as well. Monheim, who has received numerous awards for his feature film “About a Girl”, a superbly acted tragic comedy with Jasna Fritzi Bauer about a teenager caught between tiredness and high spirits, most recently shot “Nemesis” (2019), an exquisitely filmed “crime scene” from Dresden, in which a mother also played a dubious role.
Among other things, Joos developed the ARD series “Die Diplomatin” with Natalia Wörner; one of his best works was Unklare Lage (2020), an excellent crime scene thriller from Munich, in which the city is placed under a state of emergency after a terror warning. (Tilman P. Gangloff)