Opening 5 May 2016
Director/writer Max Zähle is known for his award-winning short films. His first full-length feature Schrotten! (transl.: scrapping) is set in a picturesque North-German town. The mellow countryside and well-kept half-timbered houses are deceiving though. There is a feud going on between two scrap-metal dealers. The Talhammers, an old-fashioned family-clan, have been scrapping for generations. Now they barely make ends meet and are standing to lose their livelihood. Kercher (Jan-Gregor Kremp), the savvy owner of a ‘metal recycling’ business tries to use their desperate situation to bully them into selling him their junkyard. Mirko (Lucas Gregorowicz), the older of the two Talhammer brothers is ready to sell, even to sell out. He needs money badly, but wants nothing to do with the business. His younger brother Letscho (Frederick Lau) has the support of the other clan-members when he decides to solve their money problems and save the business by carrying out the ingenious train heist that his father had planned before his death.
There is potential for a good comedy here (but for a comedy only): frequent shenanigans between the adversaries, sibling rivalry, a bizarre idea for a train heist that we know can’t go smoothly, and well-cast, small-town underdogs and simpletons. But the film would have needed better lines, timing and effective direction to deliver. (Carola A)