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The Heart Is a Dark Forest

Thesps Nina Hoss and Devid Striesow are stranded by a half-baked script in "The Heart Is a Dark Forest," a marital drama that completely jumps the rails in its second half.

Thesps Nina Hoss and Devid Striesow, last seen in 2007’s remarkable drama, “Yella,” are stranded by a half-baked script in “The Heart Is a Dark Forest,” a marital drama that completely jumps the rails in its second half. Sophomore feature by writer-director Nicolette Krebitz (“Jeans”), who’s also a fine actress in her own right, blows an interesting set-up with a left turn into baroque metaphysics that plays like Alain Robbe-Grillet met “Eyes Wide Shut.” Late December release has generated only mild B.O. ripples in Germany.

One morning, young mother of two Marie (Hoss) accidentally discovers violinist hubby Thomas (Striesow) is leading a complete double life, with a second wife, Anna (Franziska Petri), and baby child tucked away in another suburban house. Discombobulated, Marie passes out, but later revisits Anna, who’s disconcertingly friendly and comforting. Semi-realist tone becomes progressively more unreal as Marie tracks down Thomas at an idle-rich masked ball held in a country manse, where she faces her emotional betrayal and private demons.Cast gamely goes through its paces; tech package is OK.

The Heart Is a Dark Forest

Germany

  • Production: An X Verleih release of an X Film Creative Pool production, in association with NDR. (International sales: X Film, Berlin.) Produced by Tom Tykwer. Directed, written by Nicolette Krebitz.
  • Crew: Camera (color), Bella Halben; editor, Sara Schilde; music, Fetisch & Me, the Whitest Boy Alive; art directors, Christel & Sylvester; costumes, Anette Guther. Reviewed at Hackesche Hoefe Filmtheater 2, Berlin, Jan. 23, 2008. (Also in Rotterdam Film Festival, Berlin Film Festival -- German Cinema.) Running time: 87 MIN.
  • With: <b>With:</b> Nina Hoss, Devid (cq) Striesow, Franziska Petri, Marc Hosemann, Monica Bleibtreu, Otto Sander, Angelika Taschen, Max Herbrechter, Guenther Maria Halmer, Jonathan Meese, Bruno Brunnet.
  • Music By: