Friday, October 4, 2013

Fantastic Fest 2013 Review: NOTHING BAD CAN HAPPEN - Jonesy's Take

Directed by Katrin Gebbe
Written by Katrin Gebbe
Starring: Julius Feldmeier, Sascha Gersak, Annika Kuhl, and Swantje Kohlhof
Synopsis: A young man's faith is tested when he gets caught up with a seemingly normal family.

A journey of a person's faith is a tough thing to capture on film. While most attempts end up feeling cheesy and uninspired, freshman director and writer Katrin Gebbe not only masterfully tells a story of faith but created a harrowing tale of good and evil.

Tore (Julius Feldmeier) is a young man who is part of the Jesus Freaks, a young punk-looking group of teenagers who listen to alternative Christian music while looking to grow their faith. Though some of the Freaks appear to be fake in their belief, Tore is steadfast in his faith. Tore helps Benno (Sascha Gersak) get his car started by praying, and Benno becomes intrigued by this young man. Benno eventually offers Tore a place to stay with his family, but slowly, Tore's spirituality is tested. Though the family seems normal (don't they always), Benno's secrets and true, twisted nature comes to the surface.

It's mind blowing that this is Gebbe's first film. The subtlety of her work is outstanding. She lets the characters breath and take shape, and just when we think we've figured them out, she throws in another wrench. It's an effective slow burn.

As the ever-so-faithful Tore, Julius Feldmeier is captivating. He has a quiet presence on screen. It would have been easy to play the character as whiny teenager or self-proclaimed martyr, but Feldmeier creates a sympathetic and heartfelt person in Tore. On the opposite end of the spectrum, Sascha Gersak, as fatherly Benno, is an unsettling antagonist. At first, his mannerisms and actions don't come across as anything abnormal, but as the film wears on, small actions here and there begin to shift your perspective of him. By the end, you feel an uneasiness every time he shows up on screen.

No matter your standing on Christianity and faith, this film is about Tore's journey. Though it never fully takes a stance on what the actual point of the film it Tore's journey, the battle between good and evil forces in the world, people are inherently evil? It's refreshing for a filmmaker to let the audience make up their own mind.

This isn't an easy film to watch, nor is it a film that you'll want to see over and over again. However, it's a solid and gut-wrenching piece of filmmaking. Watch it once, and then go play with a litter full of puppies.

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