Die Hölle [Cold Hell] (2017)

Die Hölle
Director: Stefan Ruzowitzky
Writer: Martin Ambrosch
Cast: Violetta Schurawlow, Tobias Moretti, Robert Palfrader, Sammy Sheik, Friedrich von Thun, Murathan Muslu, Nursel Köse, Verena Altenberger
Seen on: 6.2.2017

Plot:
Özge (Violetta Schurawlow) is a taxi driver with anger management issues. One night she returns home just in time to see a murder  in the appartment building across the street. Unfortunately the killer sees her, too and subsequently turns her life upside down completely. Özge finds an ally, though, in grumpy police officer Christian (Tobias Moretti) who offers her a place to stay almost inspite of himself. But Özge is a fighter and she won’t be playing victim for anybody, not even a killer.

Die Hölle really didn’t work for me, despite a couple of things that I did like. It was one of those films that left me uneasy as I left the cinema and that I disliked more and more with every minute I thought about it.

[SPOILERS]

Die Hölle feels and looks a lot like a Hollywood movie. And while it is obvious that the film is set in Vienna, and the people talked Austrian German and they even made use of the fact that UNO has one of their headquarters in Vienna, this hollywoodness bothered me. It just didn’t feel like an Austrian film anymore, more like a USAmerican production team decided to set their film here in Austria. And I’ve said it before and I will say it again: l like my Austrian cultural products to actually feel Austrian.

I did like that the story was set in the Turkish subculture in Vienna and featured a female protagonist who is literally a fighter – a kickboxer (I think). But it was an absolutely weird choice to only have a handful Turkish actors. Schurawlow is from Uzbekistan orginally, Palfrader is Austrian with no Turkish connections as far as I know. It feels weird to call this whitewashing, but it is something related to that phenomenon anyway. And honestly, the cast was not that great (Moretti being his usual great self and Muslu having his usual strong presence) to warrant those decisions. I thought the acting was mostly pretty wooden.

Apart from those casting decisions, there were just so many stereotypes in the films – and all stereotypes I hate – that it made watching the film almost unbearable. Once again, sex workers have to die so that a story about other people can be told. Once again, it’s a religiously motivated serial killer who murders the sex workers. Once again, there is a huge age difference between the unnecessary romantic pairing (with the man being much older, of course). Once again, there is a pedophile in a Turkish family who is being covered by that entire family.

With all those stereotypes, the wooden acting, the music meant to create tension that actually actively ripped me out of the film repeatedly, and the really predictable script, it is no wonder that the film felt much longer than it actually was to me and that I wanted it to end way sooner than it did.

Summarizing: Skip it.

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