Krabat is a German movie based on one of the books (in English: The Satanic Mill) by Otfried Preußler, one of the more famous children/young adult authors from Germany. Though I loved his books as a child, Krabat somehow escaped my notice. (A situation I plan to rectify soon.) So, I can’t comment on the book itself.
It’s the 18th century. The 30 year war and the pest are plaguing the country, and Krabat took to the streets to beg for his livelihood. He and his friends go from village to village as carollers. But for three nights in a row already, he’s had dreams of crows, a mill and a voice telling him to come. He finally gives into his dreams. He arrives at the mill and gets taken on as one of twelve apprentices. Soon, Krabat finds out that he’s not only being trained as a miller, but also as a dark magician.
The movie is dark. It tackles themes, which are not easy and doesn’t make the mistake to pretend that they are. Death, friendship, love, power – it’s all there. Some critics say that the depth from Preußler’s book disappeared in the movie. I can’t agree. [Neither does Preußler, apparently. (German)]
The cast is mostly good: not surprisingly, Daniel Brühl acts his part convincingly and perfectly. Robert Stadlober does fine in his supporting role, but could have done with a little more character development (or time for that). Christian Redl, and even more so, Christian Redl’s voice are amazing as the master of the mill. Hanno Koffler as Juro is impressive. Unfortunately, the weakest cast member is David Kross, who plays Krabat. While his acting is mostly solid, but nothing special, in the last third of the film I couldn’t concentrate anymore, because he’d grown a moustache. And it was a moustache of the “wipe your face, there’s something on your upper l… oh, that’s nice! You’ve grown a beard!” variety, which drove me completely bonkers.
The best part about the movie were the special effects, though. Some, I admit, were a bit rugged like the CGI crows, Krabats transformation into a crow was a thing of beauty. And when I say a thing of beauty, I mean it was mind-bendingly, tears-in-my-eyes, I-want-to-see-it-again-and-again wonderful.
So, I really enjoyed it. I’d only recommend it to fantasy fans, though. I’ll tell you what I thought of the book when I’ve read it [Christmas holidays coming up, so that’s hopefully soon].