Director: Anno Saul
Writer: Jan Berger
Based on: Akif Pirinçci‘s novel Die Damalstür (translated to The Back Door)
Cast: Mads Mikkelsen, Jesscia Schwarz, Valeria Eisenbart, Tim Seyfi, Thomas Thieme, Heike Makatsch
David (Mads Mikkelsen) is a successful painter, has a lovely wife in Maja (Jessica Schwarz) and a cute daughter in Leonie (Valeria Eisenbart). But while Leonie is playing in the garden and Maja is out, he prefers to go and fuck the neighbor Gia (Heike Makatsch). When David returns from the most of recent of these, he finds Leonie in the pool – drowned. Five years later, his life is pretty much destroyed, Maja won’t speak to him and he’s constantly drunk. Then he stumbles on a door and when he walks through it, he finds himself back on the day the Leonie drowned – and with a chance to do things over. If only it wasn’t for his younger self…
Die Tür starts off pretty Butterfly Effect-y (including actual butterflies) and I was pretty convinced that it would go the same way. But the film does go in a completely different direction and is rather entertaining.
I like time travel stories and I love when they really get into the machinations of how time travel could work. But this film doesn’t really concern itself with those technicalities. There’s no question about paradoxes or how it works at all or what happens to the future when you change things etc. Interestingly enough, though, I didn’t really mind that.
Instead I was caught up in the increasing insanity of the plot itself. It starts out pretty innocuous, but it does escalate quickly. I have to admit that after a certain point I thought that it was a bit too much and had a harder time going along with it. But the plot never lost me completely.
It helps, of course, that the cast is really good. Mads Mikkelsen (whose German is surprisingly good, though the DVD also offered me a version where he’s been dubbed over apparently) is great, as are Jessica Schwarz and Heike Makatsch. Thomas Thieme is wonderfully creepy. Valeria Eisenbart wasn’t that good, though. Maybe she’ll get there in time.
Anno Saul’s direction was competent for the most part, but sometimes a little too on the nose. And the butterfly really was cheesy. But put altogether, it was an entertaining, though not amazing film.
Summarising: If you like time travel and/or Mads Mikkelsen, watch it.