Group Stages – Round 1: Zentropa (SUI) vs BYE (HON)
by Nicholas Robinson
The first half: A young American of German roots (Jean-Marc Barr) goes to work as a sleeping car conductor with his uncle (Ernst-Hugo Järegård) in occupied Germany and soon is involved in the languid but subversive world of an industrialist’s daughter (Barbara Sukowa). – IMDB.com
I had never heard of this movie before. In fact, I wasn’t even sure whether or not it was a Swiss film due to the fact that it was directed by Lars von Trier but it was a co-production so I’m good. Once I saw Lars von Trier’s name on the screen, I was immediately disheartened due to his first impression he made on me with that fucked up movie Antichrist. However, that disheartening lessened gradually as the movie went on and I ended up liking the movie. The story was good, the acting was ok, and the direction was good.
The story in this movie of how the sleeping car conductor who wishes to remain neutral and just get a job in post-war Germany has to choose sides in a war between the new regime and those still loyal to Adolf Hitler. There was an interesting use of what I thought was a hypnotist as a narrator. Although it makes the ending a bit more surprising, it helps move the story along and gives a reason for randomly skipping days, weeks or months in the timeline.
The acting was OK in this movie all around. There were no standout performances, whether good or bad and so I have nothing more to say on this point. The direction in this movie was really good, as expected of Lars von Trier. There were some interesting switches between black and white screens to colour screens.
My real problem with this movie is that it felt way too long and I was falling asleep in the movie. You have a hypnotist as your narrator so that you can skip random moments in time, yet you spend a lot of time on the unimportant bits making your movie run almost as long as Inception? You really couldn’t have found some scenes you could have cut?
Overall, this is a good movie that anyone interested in WWII will find interesting.
IMDB says 7.6/10
RT says 83%
I say 7.0/10
The second half: Honduras has been designated as a bye team and so automatically receives a score of 0/10
The result: Switzerland wins. Switzerland 7 – 0 Honduras.