Goodbye Berlin


Reviewed by: Amber Wilkinson

Goodbye Berlin
"The scrappy nature of their adventures would be better suited to a short TV series."

Aimed squarely audiences in the same age group of its protagonists, Fatih Akin's Goodbye Berlin goes on a blackly comic cautionary tale road trip with a pair of young teenagers.

The schools are on the verge of the summer holidays and Maik's family is on the verge of breakdown. His hot mess of a mum is about to go on a euphemistically named spa break to get off the booze and his dad sees this as the perfect excuse to go on an equally loose 'business trip' with a young colleague. Maik's personal life isn't going that well either - he is head-over-heels for Tatjana (Aniya Wendel), a girl in his class, whose level of ignoring him reaches new heights when he fails to score an invite to her birthday party.

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A glint of light and, possibly, danger is offered by new kid in town, Tschick (the original name of Wolfgang Herrndorf 's YA novel from which this is adapted), whose edginess extends to constantly smelling of alcohol and being a dab hand at boosting cars.

He proves this latter skill by rocking up at Maik's on the first day of the holidays in a battered old Lada and suggesting they go on a road trip. Having been left home alone by dad, and with 200 euros burning a hole in his pocket, the temptation is hard to resist and the pair soon hit the road.

What follows is a loosely assembled series of encounters, including a car chase with a tractor and an off-beat lunch date. While Tristan Göbel and Anand Batbileg bring a high charm level to their roles, the scrappy nature of their adventures would be better suited to a short TV series than a film. Although we are shown the end of their trip at the film's beginning, which offers some structure, much of the action feels as aimless as they are. Their encounter with the slightly older Isa (Mercedes Muller) brings with it a frisson of the shifting state of adolescence to adulthood, but her character is underwritten. While it's one thing for Akin to retain the mystery of a box she has with her, it's quite another to expect us to believe she's hanging out in an derelict building which seems to be miles from anywhere, while simultaneously expecting to hitch a ride.

The film has some winning moments, but they are as fleeting as the school holidays.

Reviewed on: 09 Aug 2017
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Two German teenagers steak a Lada and go on a roadtrip.

Director: Fatih Akin

Writer: Wolfgang Herrndorf, Lars Hubrich, Fatih Akin, Hark Bohm

Starring: Tristan Göbel, Aniya Wendel, Justina Humpf, Paul Busche, Jerome Hirthammer, Max Kluge, Udo Samel, Anja Schneider, Nadine Dubois, Henning Peker, Uwe Bohm, Anand Batbileg, Katerina Poladjan, Sammy Scheuritzel, Julius Felsberg

Year: 2016

Runtime: 93 minutes

Country: Germany


EIFF 2017

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