Ich seh, Ich seh [Goodnight Mommy] (2014)

Ich seh, Ich seh (German version of “I spy with my little eye”, literally “I see, I see”)
Director: Severin Fiala, Veronika Franz
Writer: Severin Fiala, Veronika Franz
Cast: Susanne Wuest, Elias Schwarz, Lukas Schwarz
Part of: /slash Filmfestival (Suprise Movie X)
[Reviews by cornholio and Maynard Morrissey.]

Plot:
Lukas (Lukas Schwarz) and Elias (Elias Schwarz) spend their summer playing in and around the rather lonely country house at which their mother (Susanne Wuest) is recuperating from cosmetic surgery. But their initially idyllic summer is disrupted when the twins start to doubt that their mother is actually their mother. It seems that someone or something else came back from that surgery.

A few months ago I saw a testscreening of the still unfinished film and was less than convinced by it. It seemed decent enough, but nothing to write home about. The finished product, though, is another beast entirely. It is a tense, gripping and absolutely fantastic piece of cinema.

ichsehichseh

[SPOILERS]

The problem with having seen the test screening is that I knew all of the plot twists already in advance. But since I had called one of the major twists – that there is only one boy – in the first few minutes of the film the first time round anyway, that wasn’t too much of a loss. In fact, considering how well the film worked this time around despite me knowing where it would be heading, just proves how strong it really is.

And in the finished version suddenly everything works, even the one scene with the people collecting money for the Red Cross who just enter the house which I hated back then. The pacing works, it’s atmospheric and it won’t let go easily. It’s amazing what editing and film music can do (the soundtrack was generally awesome).

ichsehichseh1The best qualities of the film was the camera work, which was just beautiful especially when capturing the boys at play, and the boys themselves who deliver a really stellar performance. Susanne Wuest wasn’t bad at all herself, but loses a bit against the double whammie that is the twins.

Fiala and Franz (who, btw, have one of the sweetest “origin stories” I have ever heard: he used to babysit her kids and she would pay him in video rentals they’d watch together. If that isn’t perfect, I don’t know what is) have crafted a wonderful film that will keep you on the edge of your seat. I hope they make many more like it. Just skip the test screenings from now on.

ichsehichseh2Summarizing: Austrian cinema to be proud of.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s