UNVERWUNDBAR (INVULNERABLE)

3 Stars
Year Released: 2009
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Running Time: 25 minutes
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The cinematic conceit of an essentially decent teen girl arriving in a new town and hooking up with the popular and bitchy crowd, in a quest for social acceptance, has been done far more times than is really necessary. German writer/director Felice Goetze breathes a last breath of life into this sub-genre’s corpse with his short film, “Unverwundbar.” While keeping his running time short and his cast small, he cuts to the proverbial chase and brings us directly to the key moment when the heroine turns the corner and realizes that she is better off without her so-called friends.

Nadine (Vanessa Kruger) is trying her best to curry favor with an especially wretched pair of pals. The trio of harpies don’t have to work too hard to find a suitable target for their venom: local boy Calvin (Christian Heiner Wolf) is mentally challenged and also speaks with a stutter. Calvin, mirroring Nadine, wants nothing more than to fit in with the kids of his age. When Calvin isn’t around, the girls turn on Nadine herself, who is an easy target, as she is vaguely Gothish (chipped nail varnish and a scarf with skulls printed on it). Trying to win her evil companions over, Nadine participates in an especially cruel afternoon of Calvin-torturing, which ends with Nadine realizing what is truly important to her (hint: it is not her friends).

Rather than being a coming of age epic, or even a full coming of age story, “Unverwundbar” is simply a coming of age vignette. Kruger’s understated performance as a girl who has an average teen desire to fit in, is contrasted with Wolf’s convincing and brave portrayal of a boy who has too many strikes against him socially, and who is desperate for acceptance at any cost.

Felice Goetze now has two shorts, a television episode, and a few assistant director credits under his belt. If “Unverwundbar” is a typial indication of his skills, then it seems as though he is ready to tackle a feature film.



Posted on September 25, 2009 in Reviews by
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