Like writer/director Engel, the hero (or anti-hero) of this elegant existential/political thriller - successful art critic David Keller (Krabbé) - is a product of the radical '60s, a German now living in Britain. But his success is hollow: Dürer's engraving 'Melancholia' on his upmarket apartment wall, vodka on his desk, abandoned relationships (most notably with old flame York), angst and melancholy in his heart. This moral inertia is catalysed by an unexpected phone call: a voice from the German past tells him he has been chosen as the assassin of a Chilean ex-torturer, coming to London for a conference. Can he stay true to the ideals of his youth? Could he, should he, kill? Krabbe, rugged and taciturn (the clipped dialogue of the opening sounds echoes of the B thriller) gives an excellent performance, personalising moral and political issues with facial sensitivity, a palpable intellect, and physical restraint. There is much to enjoy: Hitchcockian tension and invention in the action sequences, a contemplative but fluid visual style and an evocative use of music. Good, too, to see London and Hamburg filmed as expressively as they are here by cameraman Denis Crossan.
Cast and crew
|Screenwriter:||Andi Engel, Lewis Rodia|