Film , Thrillers
  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • 3 out of 5 stars
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BURNING FOR YOU Krisch, seated, has plans in mind.
Austrian director Götz Spielmann’s impressively mounted, quietly moody film is as much an attempt at social and ethical enquiry as it is a revenge crime thriller. Alex and Tamara – couple one – are an ex-jailbird and indebted prostitute, respectively, working in a sleazy Viennese brothel, set on bank robbery as the only way out. Robert and Suzanne – couple two – an honest policeman and his wife, have created a middle-class, if childless, dream of a house in the rural Waldviertel, whose clean lines contrast with the ramshackle farm of old Hausner, Alex’s ailing grandfather, across the way. Contrasts and comparisons are the rule, as Spielmann’s slow-burning movie contrives – in an acceptable, rather than predictable, fashion – to combine the fates of the two couples, following the first pair’s calamitous post-robbery getaway.

That story isn’t the be-all-and-end-all in Spielmann’s movie is obvious. Plot coincidences are declared; characters are placed plainly in convenient earshot of significant dialogue. It’s physical, emotional and moral parallels, dichotomies and ironies he’s after – and the light they may throw on our notions of revenge, guilt and restitution, together with subtler shafts on class and gender, home and family, secular transgression and Christian sin. It’s an open work: suggestive rather than conclusive; grave, without being heavy; thoughtful, rather than deep – but also too vague and finally unsatisfying. It’s boosted, however, by a set of affecting, low-key realist performances – notably that of Johannes Krisch as the ‘uncouth’ Alex – and enriched by some superbly lit images by cinematographer Martin Gschlacht.

Release details

Rated: 15
Release date: Friday April 30 2010
Duration: 122 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Götz Spielmann
Screenwriter: Götz Spielmann
Cast: Ursula Strauss
Irina Potapenko
Andreas Lust
Johannes Krisch
Hannes Thanheiser

Average User Rating

1.3 / 5

Rating Breakdown

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Please do ignore *RCO'G 's* review. The film is wonderful. Testament to that truth is almost unanimous critical praise, Oscar nomination and various other international festival awards and recognition. The movie is not a 'Thriller', nor an 'action adventure', nor any such particular genre, it's just a story that is well filmed & acted and your just evesdroping and expected to make your own sense of it.


Oh for an Editor I kept thinking. All the elements were there, some of them cliched, yes, bare breasts for the sake of bare breasts ( and I like bare breasts) haggard ex con, tart with a heart, straight as a die cop but boy was it hard work so that by the time we got to the end I really just didn't care and I should have. The film is TOO obsessed with the grander notions of the human condition and truthfully this genre really doesn't lend itself to existetialism ( the closest recent entry being Audiard's superb Sur mes Levres which also had the advantage of being French). The performances are spot on, the tone is right but why were we treated to Brothel and the setup in the beginning if we were never going back there, which I was afraid we might have to about 90 Mins in to the running time. You can wait for it on DVD and then wait some more while you watch it.