February 2011: Das Juengste Gericht

by March 29, 2011

A serial killer is on the loose, hacking up bodies and leaving the victims in bizarre configurations. A team of Viennese police are on a manhunt before the killer strikes again, with nothing to go on but the few clues left at the crime scene. Das juengste Gericht is a semi-formulaic two-part miniseries in the same vein as Seven. While not terribly original in the biblical-themed motive of the killer, the reasoning for the kills: to provide a scene for a comic book artist, is certainly unique.

Christoph stars as Peters, the supporting-cop to Tobias Moretti’s character, Thomas Dorn, the head of investigations. Silke Bodenbender is Monica Faber, who is having an affair with Peters although Thomas has a crush on her also. The team is struggling due to Thomas having such an explosive temper especially when capturing criminals, and internal power struggles between Peters and Thomas are causing unneeded tension and threatens to tear the investigation apart from the inside.

As I was watching the film, it reminded me of the production values of the UK cop show “The Bill” as far as sets, costumes, cinematography and general acting of the secondary characters. Very realistic, very no-frills yet of a high enough quality to make it look believable. Again, as is the issue with most of Christoph’s films, there were no subtitles to help me understand and at times I grew confused as to what was going on. The fact that Christoph/Peters was given a lot of screen time and was able to demonstrate his considerable screen presence fully, made up for what was lost in translation.

Still, it never did become obvious why Thomas Dorn had such a short fuse from the beginning and why Peters and Thomas were at odds. Also, the predictability of the outcome of certain characters was clear from very early on. This was not Moretti’s best role, although Christoph and Silke had some nice chemistry. Some of the special effects were lacking in both believable appearance and in accurate explanations (for example, the upside down cross is the crucifix of St. Peter, and in reality has no satanic meanings.)

Christoph has a few memorable scenes including some kissing, and dancing. His wardrobe is splendid and the amount of screen time he has is wonderful. This is not for the beginner into non-subtitled movies, but is enjoyable as an intermediate stop.

- Sacher

Christoph Waltz Fans