Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
Actors: Johan Leysen, Christoph Waltz, Lavinia Wilson, Axel Prahl, Thorsten Merten
Director: Dmitriy Tsintsadze
Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama, Mystery & Suspense
A major hit on the European film festival circuit, Ditto Tsintsadze's "poetic thriller" will keep you on the edge from the startling beginning to the jaw-dropping final shot. A young man sits alone on a bus. A beautiful yo... more »
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Intriguing but flawed suspense movie... a so-so DVD transfer
dooby | 04/26/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Schussangst (Fear of Shooting) is a deliberately paced, suspenseful movie that unfortunately, will not be for all audiences. It is not a typical Hollywood thriller. In fact, to call it a thriller may be to do it a disservice by attracting the wrong crowd.
Lukas (Fabian Hinrichs) is a shy and lonely young man who because of his pacifist outlook, chooses to serve out his national service by delivering food to the elderly. One day on a tramride, a beautiful young woman (Lavinia Wilson) throws a letter into his lap. It says "Help me". Nothing more. Intrigued, he follows her off the tram, gets to know her and eventually starts dating her. She never explains the letter.
Over time, he gets infatuated with her, obsessed would be a better word. Secretly he trails her around the city. He finds her at a martial arts class practising Kendo. What would a stick-wielding martial arts expert need his help in?. Later he sneaks in after another Kendo session to find her humping away with an older man. When he questions her about it, she gives him a cryptic reply about how life is full of unfathomable pain. Only later does he find out that the man is her stepfather. Putting two and two together, he concludes that she isn't happy with the relationship she's having with her stepdad. So he hatches a hare-brained scheme to kill the stepfather, picturing himself as her valiant rescuer. He goes about buying a rifle and learns to shoot. The pacifist learns to become a killer - is he just a deluded romantic? or is he a psycho-stalker in the making?
One major drawback of the film but one arrived at by artistic choice, is the way it is shot. The film is disorientating because at many points, the camera looks at the world through Lukas' eyes. From his point of view, the world doesn't make sense and that unfortunately is what the audience also feels. Why does the girl choose him of all people? Did the girl even choose him? Why does she ignore him totally at the end? We are left in the dark because that is precisely how Lukas feels.
At the end, the movie leaves the viewer to fill in the blanks. Did the girl really set him up to kill her father? Or to kill herself? Or was it all just the overworked imaginings of his warped mind. An intriguing movie. But not to all tastes. It was the controversial winner of the Best Picture award at the 2003 San Sebastian International Film Festival. Controversial because many of the critics didn't like it.
The DVD transfer is in its original aspect ratio of 1.85:1. Unfortunately it is letterboxed and is NON-anamorphic (not enhanced for widescreen TV). Audio is the original German 2.0 stereo. Optional english subtitles are provided. Picture quality is fair with no major concerns but nothing to boast about. Black levels are good and colors are natural. It could have been better considering that it was made in 2003 and the the DVD was released in 2005."