Ìlker Çatak’s new movie is a nerve-janglingly painful and intense film about an outbreak of stealing in a German secondary faculty. The uncompromising qualities initially coexist with one thing subtly insidious and unresolved, an unnerving demonstration of poisoned-herd mentality, all underscored by a disquieting musical rating. This then provides away to a type of melodrama which is much less highly effective and extra generic. The dramatic tendons of the movie slacken a bit of in its third act and I puzzled if screenwriters Çatak and Johannes Duncker have been certain how precisely to complete their story. But it hooks into the thoughts.
Leonie Benesch (who performed Prince Philip’s ill-fated sister Cecile in The Crown) is Carla Nowak, a younger, idealistic instructor of maths and PE at a faculty through which pupils are inspired to consider themselves with one thing akin to residents’ rights. Carla is sensible and dedicated: a fluent speaker of English and likewise Polish; she comes from a Polish household in Westphalia, and is a bit of uneasy about her personal otherness.
Like everybody within the faculty, Carla is deeply sad concerning the unsolved thefts, but additionally sad concerning the heavy-handed and unjustified strategies the varsity is utilizing. After what seems to have been a racist tipoff, a boy with Turkish mother and father has his pockets searched, however the extra money there was discovered to be merely a present from his mother and father to purchase a pc recreation; they’re deeply unimpressed by the varsity’s graceless apology and Carla feels it’s as much as her, as a part of a youthful and extra progressive technology, to make diplomatic overtures to the boy’s mum and pop.
However then Carla sees cash going lacking from her personal purse and by covertly utilizing her laptop computer to movie the academics’ lounge, makes the sensational discovery that the thief is a member of employees with a boy on the faculty. This girl’s subsequent suspension (though there’s by no means a transparent confession) leads to her indignant, resentful little one beginning a whispering marketing campaign towards Carla; her colleagues, removed from displaying solidarity, are in some way persuaded that there’s something undisciplined and unprofessional about her behaviour.
Every little thing unravels from right here, and it’s an arresting, jagged course of. Benesch is superb at displaying somebody who’s mainly in shock for many of the faculty day, and there’s a very intense scene through which Carla, suppressing an anxiousness assault, makes it into the women’ room, empties out the swingbin and makes use of the plastic rubbish sack to breathe into. However after some time, in pure storytelling phrases, the movie spins its wheels a bit and doesn’t make as a lot dramatic headway as it’d. A barely sentimental contact regarding a Rubik’s dice given to the pupil seems to be cancelled by a wierd and never solely profitable picture confected over the closing credit score roll. But it is a sturdy efficiency from Benesch who has a fencer’s pressure and charm.