Review: ‘Hold-Up’

Smart use of widescreen, some clever script touches and three good lead performances make quirky hostage tragi-comedy "Hold-Up" a mostly entertaining ride. Saggy midsection, that loses the thread in too much uninteresting talk, takes some of the shine off the picture but this could still pull in a few schillings in select European markets. Young helmer Florian Flicker's third feature casts an ironic enough eye on his fellow Austrians to give this some foreign legs.

Smart use of widescreen, some clever script touches and three good lead performances make quirky hostage tragi-comedy “Hold-Up” a mostly entertaining ride. Saggy midsection, that loses the thread in too much uninteresting talk, takes some of the shine off the picture but this could still pull in a few schillings in select European markets. Young helmer Florian Flicker’s third feature casts an ironic enough eye on his fellow Austrians to give this some foreign legs.

In a kind of small-scale riff on “Dog Day Afternoon,” clumsy, unemployed Andreas (Roland Dueringer) plans on holding up a Vienna supermarket just before Xmas to meet the pecuniary demands of his ex-wife (Sonja Romei). Chickening out at the last moment, he stumbles into a tiny tailor’s shop opposite and impulsively sticks up the owner, Boeckel (Joachim Bissmeier), who’s in the middle of refitting some pants for an annoying regular, Franz (Josef Hader). While the cops cordon off the street outside — for a separate reason — the three very different men, thrown together, engage in various power plays and, eventually, a plan to get Andreas his money. Blackly comic ending wraps things satisfyingly. The three actors shared the best actor prize at Locarno.

Hold-Up

Austria

Production

An Allegro Film production. (International sales: Allegro, Vienna.) Produced by Helmut Grasser.

Crew

Directed by Florian Flicker. Screenplay, Susanne Freund, Flicker. Camera (color, widescreen), Helmut Pirnat; editor, Monika Willi; music, Sam Auinger, Hannes Strobl; art director, Christoph Kanter; costumes, Martina List. Reviewed at Locarno Film Festival (competing), Aug. 9, 2000. Original title: Der Ueberfall. Running time: 84 MIN.

With

With: Roland Dueringer, Joachim Bissmeier, Josef Hader, Birgit Doll, Sonja Romei, Ulrike Beimpold, Klaus Ortner, Klaus Haendl.
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