A friend of mine recommended Michael Kohlhaas directed by Arnaud des Pallières, and at first thought although this isn’t the type movie I would typically watch I thought there’s a good actor in the cast, why not. I’m referring to Mads Mikelsen who also played in blockbusters such as Casino Royale (the bad guy), Clash of the Titans and King Arthur. Currently featuring in American’s popular series – Hannibal.
A quick summary of the movies main theme and narrative (This does not however give away the end). The plot revolves around a horse dealer who will come across an unfortunate event which will lead him to go through great lengths to get what he wants. Acting out of instinct rather than through his conscious. The movie’s main theme is vengeance and justice.
The film starts of with a deception. A long panoramic shot of horses walking up a hill. This shot however is shot against the light, how strange. The shot could have been done with better shadows and contrast with light rays hitting on them. Now looking back I understand it better as I believe that the first shot is taken from the middle of the movie and was purposely shot that way. I’m not sure that first shot is in chronological order. Mads Mikelesen’s presence, starring as Kohlhaas in the film is stunning, he is great on screen, and is able to make a long shot of himself interesting, just through the stare he pulls on screen. This is felt as from the very first shot to his last one. The tension really build’s up throughout the movie and reaches it’s peak at the end.
So where am i getting at? I would give this film credit for the well chosen actors. The difficulty in making an independent movie credible considering the time period it was set in. Keeping the audiences attention, even after these really old school long sequences and shots. The movie moves quite slowly, but then again taken into context this reflects the pace at which they lived back then.
Above all I thought that the struggle and injustice Kohlhaas faces is one that we can all relate to. You can sympathize with his character. I understood why he did what he did. It didn’t make it right, but I understood it. The fact that there was so little dialogue yet so much was said through his actions and his behaviour. It was clear to me that what’s important in this film is what we see, and in there lie the answers, not in what is said.
What I liked less was the contradiction in the movie’s message, maybe this was also purposely done. I wouldn’t like to ruin it, so won’t I discuss it in this post.
To conclude it’s a good film, better than the films coming from the box-office.
So for those of you who like dark films with mild violence and like the slow paced narrative this may be the the movie for you.