Review: ‘Long Shadows’

A terrorist from Germany's Red Army Faction is released from prison after 22 years in "Long Shadows," Connie Walther's unconvincing drama of unhealed wounds.

A terrorist from Germany’s Red Army Faction is released from prison after 22 years in “Long Shadows,” Connie Walther’s unconvincing drama of unhealed wounds. Pic is bound to suffer from comparisons with “The Baader Meinhof Complex,” though Walther aims for intimacy rather than history lesson. Suffused with barely suppressed rage, “Shadows” boasts a strong cast that struggles to generate an ounce of sympathy, and its washed-out visuals are drearily unappealing. It’s doubtful locals will crave another reminder of the “German Autumn,” making Euro cable the most likely outlet.

Lawyer Ellen (Tatja Seibt) sets convicted terrorist Widmer (Ulrich Noethen) up in an apartment after he gets out of jail, not realizing he’ll be living next to Valerie (Franziska Petri), the unstable daughter of a man Widmer was accused of killing. Widmer desires contact only with his son, Samy (Christoph Bach), but Samy’s mom, ex-terrorist Marita (Eva Mattes), tries to prevent the encounter. Valerie pretends support but finally reveals her identity when Widmer points the finger at Marita. Unfortunately, auds won’t be as keen on the truth, since character development feels artificially constructed. Pallid images and frequent back-of-the-head shots don’t help involvement.

Long Shadows



A NextFilm Filmproduktion, Gambit Film und Fernsehproduktion production, in association with Bayerischer Rundfunk, Arte, Conuli Films. (International sales: Sola Media, Stuttgart, Germany.) Produced by Clementina Hegewisch, Michael Jungfleisch. Co-producers, Connie Walther, Uli Herrmann. Directed by Connie Walther. Screenplay, Uli Herrmann, Peter-Juergen Boock, Walther.


Camera (color), Birgit Gudjonsdottir; editor, Karen Loenneker; music, Rainer Oleak; production designer, Agi Dawaachu; costume designer, Juliane Freidrich. Reviewed at Rome Film Festival (competing), Oct. 23, 2008. Original title: Schattenwelt. Running time: 93 MIN.


Franziska Petri, Ulrich Noethen, Tatja Seibt, Uwe Kockisch, Christoph Bach, Mehdi Nebbou, Rino Zepf, Eva Mattes.
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