All Gone, All Gone

Overlapping hard luck stories have a gentle if slightly dishonest veneer in appealingly sentimental German meller "All Gone, All Gone." Modest but well-handled sophomore effort by helmer Pepe Planitzer tickles the funny bone too insistently at first, but later, when it comes to plucking the heartstrings, displays a more tender touch.

With:
With: Eberhard Kirchberg, Milan Peschel, Marie Gruber, Simone Frost.

Overlapping hard luck stories have a gentle if slightly dishonest veneer in appealingly sentimental German meller “All Gone, All Gone.” Modest but well-handled sophomore effort by helmer Pepe Planitzer tickles the funny bone too insistently at first, but later, when it comes to plucking the heartstrings, displays a more tender touch. Pic will be a low-key inclusion for fests, but will sit most comfortably on Euro tube.

Mentally deficient fiftysomething Hagen (Eberhard Kirchberg) is being evicted from the care center in which he has resided for many years.

Dispatched with a train ticket and some cash to meet his only surviving relative south of Berlin, Hagen finds himself alone in the world. In a too cute meeting, Hagen happens across the stalled pickup truck of scruffy, drunken scaffolder Dohmuhl (Milan Peschel) and pushes it (and credibility) several kilometres to the inebriated workman’s home. As repayment, Dohmuhl offers Hagen room and board until he can figure out how, and to where, he can offload the abandoned man-child. Having a stunted development of a different kind, Dohmuhl finds himself bonding with his guest, just as Hagen unquestioningly trusts his host.

Living next door to Dohmuhl is middle-aged Ina (Marie Gruber), who has recently emerged from an extended prison stretch. Reluctant to succumb to what the Dohmuhl drunkenly would like to pass off as his charisma, the parolee is nevertheless drawn to the younger man.

Yarn blithely skates past any real issues arising from prison sentences, alcoholism or mental illness with just enough charm to avoid annoying questions that would upset the heart-warming tone. Thesps smoothly carry out their duties. Planitzer’s helming is unobtrusive in its service to the story and Uwe Mann’s widescreen lensing is easy on the eye. Other tech credits are solid.

All Gone, All Gone

Germany

Production: An It Works!, Koppfilm co-production. (International sales: It Works!, Berlin.) Produced by Annekatrin Hendel, Juergen Grimmer. Co-producers, Sven Boeck, Lutz Langert, Michael Kaczmarek. Directed, written by Pepe Planitzer based on the novel "Burnout" by Oliver Bukowski.

Crew: Camera (color, widescreen), Uwe Mann; editor, Katrin Ewald; music, Jorg Huke. Reviewed at Berlin Film Festival (Perspektive Deutsches Kino), Feb. 13, 2007. German dialogue Running time: 89 MIN.

With: With: Eberhard Kirchberg, Milan Peschel, Marie Gruber, Simone Frost.

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