Review: ‘Barefoot’

Multi-hyphenate German superstar Til Schweiger comes up with a slickly-made romantic comedy in "Barefoot," his first solo directing stint following a co-helming credit on crime caper "The Polar Bear" (1998). Punchy, anti-establishment tone, with Schweiger playing a rich family's black sheep who falls for a suicidal beauty, has rung bells at local wickets this spring with admissions north of 1 million.

Apparently doing everything except the catering, multi-hyphenate German superstar Til Schweiger comes up with a slickly-made romantic comedy in “Barefoot,” his first solo directing stint following a co-helming credit on crime caper “The Polar Bear” (1998). Punchy, anti-establishment tone, with Schweiger playing a rich family’s black sheep who falls for a suicidal beauty, has rung bells at local wickets this spring with admissions north of 1 million. Offshore, market realities will consign this more for the small screen.

Nick Keller (Schweiger) can’t hold down a job and has “a problem with authority.” Working as an orderly in a psychiatric clinic, he’s followed home by one of the patients, Leila (Johanna Wokalek), who’s suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder after her mother’s death and starts hyper-ventilating if touched. An offbeat, strangely tender love story develops as the two hit the road away from the authorities, and Nick has to take responsibility for someone for the first time in his life. Wallpapered with star names and cameos, and with some nicely turned, wry dialogue, pic has an infectious sense of fun, with Christof Wahl’s lensing bathing everything in a warm amber light.

Barefoot

Germany

Production

A Buena Vista Intl. (Germany) release of a Touchstone Pictures presentation of a Barefoot Films production, in association with BVI (Germany) Film Prod., Mr. Brown Entertainment. (International sales: Telepool, Munich.) Produced by Til Schweiger, Tom Zickler. Executive producer, Mickey Liddell. Co-producer, Wolfgang Braun. Directed by Til Schweiger. Screenplay, Schweiger, Jann Preuss, Steven Zotnowsky, Dina Marie Chapman, Nika von Altenstadt.

Crew

Camera (color, widescreen), Christof Wahl; editors, Constantin von Seld, Schweiger; music, Dirk Reichardt, Stefan Hansen, Max Berghaus; art director, Jerome Latour. Reviewed at Cannes Film Festival (market), May 16, 2005. Running time: 113 MIN.

With

Til Schweiger, Johanna Wokalek, Nadja Tiller, Michael Mendl, Steffen Wink, Alexandra Neldel, Imogen Kogge, Andrea Paula Paul, Janine Kunze, Axel Stein, Eric Judor, Michael Gwisdek, Jurgen Vogel.
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