January 2011: Tag der Abrechnung: Der Amoklaufer von Euskirchen
This month we are highlighting “Tag der Abrechnung: der Amoklaeufer von Euskirchen” – which translates to “Judgement Day: The Anarchist of Euskirchen.”
Christoph stars as Erwin Mikolajczyk in this film based on the true story of the rubber boots bomber who blew up an Euskirchen courtroom. The film starts with a portrait of Erwin’s childhood, and the abuse he suffered as a child both from his peers and his father. This is meant to somehow explain what caused the creation of a person like Erwin, however the small segment of abuse, and showing a predilection towards guns and bombs in childhood does not even start to put into context how Erwin’s pathology was formed.
However, once Christoph takes over as the adult Erwin, the film starts to really shine. Christoph portrays a sexually frustrated, repressed young man who felt as if he lived in the shadow of his father’s bullying and dreamed of a world where he could be free to wear his boots and find social acceptance. This longing to find a place is highlighted in several scenes including his lack of integration in the military (where he excelled technically but socially was not accepted), and his lack of skill amongst women. Erwin turned to prostitutes and to taking photographs of women wearing rubber boots when they were not watching in an effort to feed his fetish.
His spiral of out of control behavior landed him out of a job and in an asylum where he met the older Lena, a mother-figure who he took as his first (and only) significant girlfriend. This relationship as well spiraled out of control and led to his downfall, and ultimately tragedy.
While Christoph’s performance was masterful, bringing the intensity of Erwin’s descent into madness to its’ jarring conclusion, the story itself leads the viewer to several questions. Why was his rubber boots fetish so verboten in sexually liberated post-war West Germany? Why is a fetish portrayed to be the main source of Erwin’s abnormal behavior? At times the film seems to be making excuses or explanations for the real-life events however the premise that being poor, bullied, and having a fetish as well as being an immigrant son to Germany is not enough to make a case for Erwin’s condition.
This movie should be one of the first stops into Christoph’s German-language works. His performance is without flaw, the plot and storyline are easy to follow even without subtitles or knowledge of German language, and the acting itself is enough to keep the viewer interested. It moves fast and does not drag except for the first 20 minutes when Erwin’s childhood is being explored, prior to Christoph appearing in the film.