A series of murders are happening in Austria: city councilors from Graz are killed with poisonous frogs. Jannis (Julian Stampfer) and his boyfriend Patrick (Dominik Hartl) decide to investigate. The trail leads them to a circus, where Patrick goes undercover while Jannis takes over the electric surveillance. But things continue to get weirder and soon, nobody’s sure anymore how far the conspiracy goes.
Whispering Moon is a nice exercise in meta-fiction, but unfortunately, the script is all over the place and the performances are pretty bad.
Satzinger plays nicely with the filmmaking process and makes the audience part of it. From time to time you will see a movie editing program interface and a mouse will insert special effects. Or a hand enters the screen to light a cigarette. Or we get a glimpse of the script with further explanations. I’m a sucker for that kind of thing and it works really well here.
Unfortunately, everything else kind of falls apart around that premise. Part of that is the fault of the script, which has stilted dialogues and a cop-out of an ending and just gets lost in the weirdness of it all.
The bigger problem, though, was the cast. Neither Dominik Hartel nor Julian Stampfer are very good actors, and their dialogues are excruciatingly wooden. It’s even more grating since Julian Stampfer is also narrating.
I have to admit that there was a minor thing that bugged the hell out of me: Patrick doesn’t talk anymore (since a traumatic experience in his youth) and Jannis keeps telling him, if he wants to become a filmmaker, he needs to find his voice again. And I’m sure that they were being all metaphorical, but I kept thinking, “why shouldn’t a mute person become a filmmaker?”
Anyway, if the movie hadn’t tried so hard, Michael Satzinger’s talent would have been a little more apparent – and it is there. As it is, one has to hope that his next film will be better.
Summarising: If you’re interested in film theory and/or meta fiction. Otherwise you can skip it.