AUF DER STRECKE (ON THE LINE)

3 Stars
Year Released: 2007
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Running Time: 30 minutes
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In this Swiss short, department store security guard, Rolf, uses a video monitoring system to watch shoppers, trying to scope out shoplifters before they can strike. He also uses his video eye to spy on Sarah, a book department clerk he fancies. It’s not creepy “peeping tom” spying, he just uses some of his downtime to check in on this woman he is so enamored with. Carrying the non-creepy issue further, we see that Rolf is a very gentle, virtuous character as he deals with shoplifting scenarios. He’s even quite shy as we see him attempt to engage Sarah in conversation, but ultimately is unable. And to top it all off, he looks like Eddie Money, so you really can’t help but like the guy. That’s a man with two tickets to paradise.

As it turns out, Rolf and Sarah take the same subway train to and from work, so one evening Rolf prepares himself to catch her attention as they make their way home. But this time, when Sarah boards the train she has a young man with him. Cue breaking heart. However, to Rolf’s delight, the two get into an argument and Sarah exits the train at the next stop, leaving him and the young man behind. Cue inner high-five. Clearly distraught at this turn of events, the young man is then picked on by a group of young punks, resulting in a fight. Rolf stands and thinks about helping, but instead exits the train at his stop, leaving behind him a flurry of fists. The next day at work, Rolf discovers that the young man died as a result of the fight and his conscience starts tearing him apart. At the same time, an awkward relationship between he and Sarah buds.

The story and characters of this 30 minute film are certainly well-developed and engage right from the start…but then abandon you right at the very end. I’m not really looking for a spoonfed resolution here, but after spending a half an hour with a good story I want to wind up with something a little more than unspoken longing and regret. Technically this film is top-notch and the performances are strong; I just want to walk away with something not have the film walk out on me. Perhaps I’m just selfish.



Posted on February 17, 2009 in Reviews by
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