You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Under the Ice

A mother's protective instincts set off a string of unintended consequences in "Under the Ice," a solid if visually plain slice of psychological family drama. Good fest run should translate into select theatrical and vid sales in Euro and North American markets.

With:
With: Bibiana Beglau, Sandra Borgmann, Dirk Borchardt, Adrian Wahlen, Nicole Mercedes Muller, Barbara Focke, Thorsten Merten, Susanne Lothar.

A mother’s protective instincts set off a string of unintended consequences in “Under the Ice,” a solid if visually plain slice of psychological family drama. This suburban tragedy, documaker Aelrun Goette’s feature narrative debut, extends certain themes, such as children and murder, that she has previously explored, adding Michael Haneke’s techniques for extremely pressurized drama. Good fest run should translate into select theatrical and vid sales in Euro and North American markets.

Homicide detective Michael (Dirk Borchardt), his stay-at-home wife Jenny (Bibiana Beglau) and their 7-year-old son Tim (Adrian Wahlen) live in a pleasantly woodsy Berlin ‘burb, and while away their free time with dinner parties and socials. With careful craftsmanship, screenwriter Thomas Stiller lays in details that are important only in retrospect, such as Michael’s tendency to work late.

After a slightly disturbing incident involving Tim and his best playmate Luzi (Nicole Mercedes Muller), the pair goes off to play in the woods. Tim returns home distraught, taking Jenny to a nearby spot in the woods where Luzi’s little body lies dead in the snow.

Even though the death was an accident, the result of the children playing a “sleeping” game, Jenny decides to protect Tim (and Michael who’s just been promoted) by making up a story to conceal Tim’s involvement. Current local spate of child killings provides ideal cover for her well-intended lies.

Pic clinically observes how Jenny’s choice triggers a series of deceptions that only make matters worse, including locking horns with Tim’s teacher Ms. Potter (Susanne Lothar), who insists that Tim meet with a child shrink after he continually misbehaves.

Meanwhile, Michael’s sleuthing brings him to the conclusion that his son may have been involved in Luzi’s death.

Goette’s interesting decision to focus almost entirely on the home setting and not observe Michael at work or Tim in class adds to pic’s dramatic pressure. Beglau, a vet of Volker Schlondorff films including “The Ninth Day” and “The Legend of Rita,” effectively asserts intense control over the film’s emotional center, with young Wahlen (who eerily resembles Danny Lloyd in “The Shining”) and Borchardt filling out a family triangle of shifting loyalties and suspicions.

Given the subject matter, filming and staging are rather uninspired, but editor Andreas Zitzmann enforces a strong, steady pace. Composer Martin Todsharow’s dull score replays rote patterns from countless previous suspensers.

Under the Ice

Germany

Production: An Eikon Media production in co-production with SWR and RBB. (International sales: Highpoint Films, London.) Produced by Milena Maitz, Ernst Ludwig Ganzert. Directed by Aelrun Goette CQ. Screenplay, Thomas Stiller, based on an idea by Holger Badura.

Crew: Camera (color, DV -to-35mm), Jens Harant; editor, Andreas Zitzmann; music, Martin Todsharow; production designer, Heidrun Reshoft; costume designer, Natascha Curtius-Noss CQ; sound (DTS), Christian Lutz; supervising sound editor, Dominik Schleier; assistant director, Stefan Kornatz. Reviewed at AFI Los Angeles Film Festival, Nov. 6, 2006. (Also in Berlin, Montreal film festivals.) Running time: 97 MIN.

With: With: Bibiana Beglau, Sandra Borgmann, Dirk Borchardt, Adrian Wahlen, Nicole Mercedes Muller, Barbara Focke, Thorsten Merten, Susanne Lothar.

More Film

  • 'Shelved' Launches China-New Zealand Production Alliance

    Andrew Adamson's 'Shelved' Launches China-New Zealand Production Alliance (EXCLUSIVE)

    A mother’s protective instincts set off a string of unintended consequences in “Under the Ice,” a solid if visually plain slice of psychological family drama. This suburban tragedy, documaker Aelrun Goette’s feature narrative debut, extends certain themes, such as children and murder, that she has previously explored, adding Michael Haneke’s techniques for extremely pressurized drama. […]

  • Robert Zemeckis

    Robert Zemeckis to Direct Adaptation of Roald Dahl's 'The Witches' (EXCLUSIVE)

    A mother’s protective instincts set off a string of unintended consequences in “Under the Ice,” a solid if visually plain slice of psychological family drama. This suburban tragedy, documaker Aelrun Goette’s feature narrative debut, extends certain themes, such as children and murder, that she has previously explored, adding Michael Haneke’s techniques for extremely pressurized drama. […]

  • Morgan Neville

    Director Morgan Neville on the Mr. Rogers Movie That Will Make You Cry

    A mother’s protective instincts set off a string of unintended consequences in “Under the Ice,” a solid if visually plain slice of psychological family drama. This suburban tragedy, documaker Aelrun Goette’s feature narrative debut, extends certain themes, such as children and murder, that she has previously explored, adding Michael Haneke’s techniques for extremely pressurized drama. […]

  • 'Uncle Drew' Review: Kyrie Irving Takes

    Film Review: 'Uncle Drew'

    A mother’s protective instincts set off a string of unintended consequences in “Under the Ice,” a solid if visually plain slice of psychological family drama. This suburban tragedy, documaker Aelrun Goette’s feature narrative debut, extends certain themes, such as children and murder, that she has previously explored, adding Michael Haneke’s techniques for extremely pressurized drama. […]

  • Owen (CHRIS PRATT) and Blue face

    Box Office: 'Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom' to Devour $130 Million in Debut

    A mother’s protective instincts set off a string of unintended consequences in “Under the Ice,” a solid if visually plain slice of psychological family drama. This suburban tragedy, documaker Aelrun Goette’s feature narrative debut, extends certain themes, such as children and murder, that she has previously explored, adding Michael Haneke’s techniques for extremely pressurized drama. […]

  • Larry DavidHBO 'Curb Your Enthusiasm' TV

    HBO Welcomes New WarnerMedia Boss John Stankey With Video Featuring Bill Hader, Sarah Jessica Parker, Larry David

    A mother’s protective instincts set off a string of unintended consequences in “Under the Ice,” a solid if visually plain slice of psychological family drama. This suburban tragedy, documaker Aelrun Goette’s feature narrative debut, extends certain themes, such as children and murder, that she has previously explored, adding Michael Haneke’s techniques for extremely pressurized drama. […]

  • Carlo ChatrianLocarno International Film Festival programme

    Berlin Film Festival Set to Hire Locarno Chief Carlo Chatrian as Artistic Director

    A mother’s protective instincts set off a string of unintended consequences in “Under the Ice,” a solid if visually plain slice of psychological family drama. This suburban tragedy, documaker Aelrun Goette’s feature narrative debut, extends certain themes, such as children and murder, that she has previously explored, adding Michael Haneke’s techniques for extremely pressurized drama. […]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content