×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Berlin Film Review: ‘Adam’

Maria Solrun's second feature is a showcase for the thesping talents of her son, in his first leading role.

Director:
Maria Solrun
With:
Magnus Mariuson, Eszter Tompa, Floriane Daniel, Julia Kratz, Hans Brückner, Gabo Hoog, Matthias Renner, Liina Magnea. (German, English dialogue)

1 hour 12 minutes

Official Site: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt7076838/?ref_=nm_flmg_dr_1

The rash request that an irresponsible mother makes of her naïve, hearing-impaired, teenage son forms the loose focus of low-budget indie drama “Adam,” the brief second feature by Iceland-born, Berlin-based writer-helmer Maria Solrun (“Jargo”), who also produces. Too many script holes make this Berlin-set, family-crafted production more of a mood piece than the poignant, provocative tale it might have been. Nevertheless, it succeeds as a showcase for the thesping talents of the helmer’s athletic son (a producer as well), who essays the eponymous lead. Further fest play should follow.

Despite a terrible haircut and even worse dress sense, blonde, blue-eyed Adam (Magnus Mariuson) is a handsome lug who has no trouble scoring dates on Tinder and converting them into the occasional roll in the hay, even though he doesn’t speak aloud to the ladies involved. Rather, he’s a lip-reader who communicates with sign language, various electronic devices and sometimes old-fashioned pencil and paper. Audiences, however, are privy to his articulate, voiceover musings about his relationship with his now-institutionalized mother (Floriane Daniel), a former rock musician who has suffered irreversible brain damage due to alcoholism. Unhappily for the other residents of Adam’s Neukölln apartment building, he frequently plays her caterwauling music loudly; he can’t really hear it, but he can feel the bass line.

It could be that Adam’s mom’s penchant for alcohol and drugs grew from a need to self-medicate; her own mother died after a long institutionalization. But having checked in and out of the loony bin a few too many times, she tries to extract a promise from her son that if she’s ever locked away permanently, he should kill her ASAP.

An exploration of how a disabled young adult could manage financially when the person paying his rent is suddenly out of the picture would seem like a compelling storyline. But Solrun’s film doesn’t really go there. Instead, it obsesses over the mother’s written plea that her son should promise to off her if she loses her independence, a request that Adam takes all too seriously. Sure, the unfair burdens that a parent can place on a child are interesting, too, but here they don’t feel credible. Adam is surviving on instant noodle packages that he orders from the internet. Where does he get the money to finish off mom with an expensive poison? And why isn’t he more concerned when his mother’s social worker (Julia Kratz) tells him that the lease on the apartment has been ended and he’ll have to leave in three months? Although he has always believed that his father (Gabo Hoog) was not interested in him, he learns that his mother actually prevented them from having contact. That’s something that should rock his world and roil his feelings about his mother, but it’s yet another plot element that falls by the wayside.

Shot in summer, the film features intimate, widescreen visuals from DP Joanna Piechotta that are stronger than the narrative. Solrun intercuts the almost documentary-like episodes featuring Adam with glowing sequences from a documentary about underwater Iceland and with footage meant to be of Adam’s mother in her prime (played by Solon’s daughter, Liina Magnea, who, with her partner Haraldur Thrastarson, composed the music).  Other textures come from the muffled sound that mirrors Adam’s hearing and the swimming pool sequences that go with the underwater documentary.

Per press notes, Mariuson, a recent acting school graduate, formed Big Key Film with his mother to develop and produce new feature film projects.

 

Berlin Film Review: 'Adam'

Reviewed at Berlin Film Festival (Generation 14plus), Feb. 21, 2018. Running time: 72 MIN.

Production: (Germany-Iceland-U.S.-Mexico) A Jim Stark presentation of a Big Key Film, Delba, Starksales production. (International sales: Instituto Mexicano de Cinematografía, Mexico City.) Producers: Maria Solrun, Jim Stark, Magnus Mariuson. Executive producers:  Daniela Leyva Becerra Acosta, Andrea Toca.

Crew: Director, writer: Maria Solrun. Camera (color, HD, widescreen): Joanna Piechotta. Editors: Magda Lammert, Valérie Anex. Music: Haraldur Thrastarson, Magnea.  

With: Magnus Mariuson, Eszter Tompa, Floriane Daniel, Julia Kratz, Hans Brückner, Gabo Hoog, Matthias Renner, Liina Magnea. (German, English dialogue)

More Film

  • Viola Davis, Chadwick Boseman Starring in

    Viola Davis, Chadwick Boseman Starring in 'Ma Rainey's Black Bottom' for Netflix

    Viola Davis and Chadwick Boseman will star in the movie adaptation of the play “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” for Netflix. George C. Wolfe (“Lackawanna Blues”) will direct from a script by Ruben Santiago-Hudson, based on the award-winning play by August Wilson. Other cast include Glynn Turman, Colman Domingo (“If Beale Street Could Talk”) and Michael Potts. Denzel [...]

  • Crazy Bitches

    Why the CASE Act Will Empower Creatives to Fight the Horrors of Piracy

    Our horror film, “Crazy Bitches,” was released on Valentine’s Day 2015. We invested in an online marketing campaign that resulted in two times the industry clickthrough rate and 2.6M social media impressions in the week leading up to the release. So, we had reason to expect a successful return. What we didn’t count on was [...]

  • Alamo Drafthouse LA

    Alamo Drafthouse to Open in Downtown Los Angeles in July

    The Alamo Drafthouse Cinema chain is planning to open its first Los Angeles location with a “soft launch” in early July in the city’s downtown. The Texas-based chain, which has 38 locations, specializes food and drink service with unique programming. It announced Wednesday that the Los Angeles site, located at the Bloc, would offer an [...]

  • Max Landis Dropped by Manager Following

    Max Landis Dropped by Manager Following Sexual Assault Allegations

    Max Landis has been dropped as a client by his manager, a day after sexual assault allegations emerged against the  screenwriter. “I do not represent Max Landis,” Britton Rizzio at Writ Large Management told Variety in a statement. Landis is facing allegations of sexual abuse and psychological manipulation from eight women who told their stories [...]

  • Fox Layoffs

    Another Round of Layoffs Hit Disney and 20th Century Fox Film Divisions (EXCLUSIVE)

    Another round of layoffs are going down for employees merged in Disney’s acquisition of 20th Century Fox, individuals with knowledge of the company told Variety. The Wednesday reduction is the smallest round the studio has enacted since formally acquiring the film and TV assets of 20th Century in March, with a few dozen employees being [...]

  • Lin-Manuel Miranda

    Netflix Lands Lin-Manuel Miranda's 'Tick, Tick... Boom' (EXCLUSIVE)

    Following a heated bidding war, Netflix has walked away with the rights to “Tick, Tick… Boom,” a musical adaptation to be directed by “Hamilton” creator Lin-Manuel Miranda. Sources say Andrew Garfield is the top choice to star, though no deal is done. “Dear Evan Hansen” writer Stephen Levenson adapting the script based on the original [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content