Mifti, age 16, lives in Berlin with a cast of characters including her half-siblings; their rich, self-involved father; and her junkie friend Ophelia. As she mourns her recently deceased mother, she begins to develop an obsession with Alice, an enigmatic, and much older, white-collar criminal.
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July 25, 2018 at 01:21 AM
The confused meanderings of a teenage girl who is a spoilt brat and borderline psychotic. I suppose the film tries to portray rebellion for the sake of rebellion by an adolescent from a privileged world with colluding adults who are materially loaded and equally nihilistic and egocentrically exploitative. So, she challenges everyone's intentions and views whilst on an aimless, self-destructive merry-go-round of chain-smoking, alternatively smouldering and cursing, boozing until vomiting, screwing strangers at a whim, sniffing cocaine, to flopping wherever when she is spent. Quite weirdly, all this estrangement and aberrant behaviour doesn't evoke any empathy or real interest. Without wit or any development, the film fails to engage or provide any notion worth thinking or reflecting upon. It's a meaningless mish-mash dressed up as a road movie with no beginning, no direction, no plan or plot, no substance, no structure and no ending. Thus, the film is as self-indulgently serious as the main character. I found it unbearably boring and meaningless. Actually, apathy is so yesterday! Trying to be cool and postmodern it merely reveals itself as a pretentious, lazy, boring, time-wasting exercise. As the Romans said: CACATUM NON EST PICTUM.
An uninspiring nightlife film made with stylistic authenticity
A hugely stylised character study of a German teenage girl who, after struggling to cope with family issues, resorts to Berlin nightlife. The film is so in the moment though that when it is all over you ask yourself 'oh wait, what was that about again?' Winner of the Sundance cinematography award, it has a keen visual feeling and the main character Mifti is somehow endearing despite her bad behaviour. It sets the scene nicely through Mifti's confrontations with people too caught in the moment to really have a grasp on life but the story line is so convoluted that it spoils the film's charms.
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It's more about individual scenes than the entire product
"Axolotl Overkill" is a German 90-minute movie from 2017, so a relatively recent release that is the first full feature film effort by young writer and director Helene Hegemann. Actually, she is younger than her lead actress here, Jasna Fritzi Bauer, who plays a 16-year-old again and thus a girl who is almost half her age. Her young looks certainly pay off for her. There is also a bit of Chloe Moretz to her physically I'd say. Anyway, she sure found her niche and we will see how things gonna be going when she hits a certain age that will make it impossible to play these very young, usually emotionally troubled characters that struggle with their parents too. So it is a bit of a coming-of-age story, but then again it is the exact opposite as it is more of a depiction of the current circumstances than really about the main character changing too much. The axolotl reference feels a bit forced and for the sake of it, but it is also not too bad as the way in which the animal was described in that one scene makes an interesting reference to Bauer's character. The second most known cast member is probably Laura Tonke who enjoyed great awards success recently. But this is not her film, it is all about Bauer's character and I may be a bit biased as I like her, but still I believe from a neutral perspective this is a fairly brave movie, not scared of certain aspects or depictions that may feel offensive to some. I tell them to man up. If there is anything like a new wave of wild German cinema these days, then this movie deserves to be included under that characterization. It may not be too smooth as a whole, but there are many scenes in here that stay somewhat memorable. A strong characterization and taking Hegemann's lack of experience into account, this was definitely a positive surprise. Certainly among the better German films I have seen from 2017. It is bold and daring and the faults it has are more than justified by the risks it is taking. Go see it when it opens near you. I give it a thumbs-up.