A car with a dozing baby inside is stolen from a gas-station parking lot in “Lullaby Ride,” from Swiss helmer Christoph Schaub (“Julia’s Disappearance”). This somnambulant German-language effort was penned by novelist Martin Suter, who lets the thieves’ path cross multiple times with those of both the panicking parents and the owner of the car the couple steals to go after their newborn. But Schaub and cast struggle to inject the required grit, with tension failing to materialize, and the mellow score and some chuckle-inducing scenes further sending mixed messages. Indiscriminating genre labels might climb in.In the protracted opening, frigid Livia (Alexandra Maria Lara, Suter adaptation “Small World”) and hubby Marco (Sebastian Blomberg) take their incessantly crying 9-month-old (Tiziano Jaehde) for an autobahn ride, since speeding’s the only thing that pacifies him. During a bathroom break, their car is stolen by a joyriding duo (Georg Friedrich, the very good Carol Schuler), forcing the parents to “borrow” a resourceful criminal’s (Andreas Matti) vehicle and follow them into the backwoods at nighttime. Assembly is competent, but tone becomes neither suspenseful nor out-and-out comedic, instead remaining — tres Swiss — frustratingly neutral.
A Columbus Film (in Switzerland)/X Verleih (in Germany) release of a T&C Film, X Filme Creative Pool presentation and production, in association with SRF/SRG SSR, ARD Degeto, Teleclub. (International sales: T&C Edition, Zurich.) Produced by Marcel Hoehn. Co-producer, Stefan Arndt. Directed by Christoph Schaub. Screenplay, Martin Suter.
Camera (color, HD), Nikolai von Graevenitz; editor, Marina Wernli; music, Peter Scherrer; production designer, Susanne Jauch; costume designer, Dorothee Schmid. Reviewed at Locarno Film Festival (Piazza Grande), Aug. 3, 2012. Running time: 95 MIN.
Alexandra Maria Lara, Sebastian Blomberg, Georg Friedrich, Carol Schuler, Tiziano Jaehde, Andreas Matti, Ingo Ospelt. (German dialogue)