Review: ‘Let the Cat Out of the Bag’

Though it won last year's Max Ophuls screenplay prize, the pretentiously angst-laden tangle of character minidramas Michael Proehl has penned for "Let the Cat out of the Bag" make it a less auspicious feature debut for him than for Florian Schwarz's competent if unremarkable helming.

Though it won last year’s Max Ophuls screenplay prize, the pretentiously angst-laden tangle of character minidramas Michael Proehl has penned for “Let the Cat out of the Bag” make it a less auspicious feature debut for him than for Florian Schwarz’s competent if unremarkable helming. This lonely-people-in-the-night tale, with unimpressive stabs at outre sexual content, is too self-consciously contrived to merit more than modest small-screen exposure. Still, chief personnel acquit themselves professionally enough to make this an OK calling card.

After beating up and robbing a married man who propositioned him — something the movie seems rather to approve of — handsome Karl (Christoph Bach) hops a train, where he meets Doris (Jule Bowe). They must be made for each other, since they’re both the sort of alienated folks who’ll rifle though each other’s belongings when a back is turned. Karl trails her to the Leipzig karaoke bar where she works. He picks up another girl on a bet, and she carries on an ambiguous relationship with much-older Ralf (Walter Kreye). Various other depressing or sordid things happen, sans the writing depth or character backgrounding to make them meaningful. Tech aspects are adequate.

Let the Cat Out of the Bag

Germany

Production

A Filmakadamie Baden-Wurttemberg production. Produced by Alexander Bickenback. Directed by Florian Schwarz. Screenplay, Michael Proehl.

Crew

Camera (color), Philipp Sichler; editor, Florian Drechsler; music, Fabian Romer; production designer, Corinna Sy. Reviewed at Berlin & Beyond Film Festival, San Francisco, Jan. 16, 2006. Running time: 87 MIN.

With

Christoph Bach, Jule Bowe, Walter Kreye, David Scheller, Andrea Cleven, Dirk Borchardt, Torsten Michaelis, Laura Syniawa.
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