The Field Guide to Evil collects eight different segments from eight different countries that all build from a local legend. As usual with anthology films, Field Guide to Evil is a mixed bag of beans. There are some very good segments, but also some that didn’t really work for me. But I would say, it’s worth seeing because the good parts are really very good.
Plot: Egon Schiele (Noah Saavedra) and his sister Gerti (Maresi Riegner) are close and she supports him in his art, generally and by posing as a model for his paintings. But Gerti is not the only woman who inspired and supported Egon’s art. Next to Gerti, the most important is Wally (Valerie Pachner) who started out as a model for Gustav Klimt (Cornelius Obonya) and becomes Egon’s biggest love. His mostly nude or half-nude portraits of Wally and other women become a great provocation in Austrian society.
Egon Schiele: Tod und Mädchen is an interesting biopic that gives a good idea of Schiele’s (short) life and work and manages to entertain while it’s at it.
A stranger (Sam Riley) arrives in a small village in the mountains. The villagers are suspicious. They don’t know anything about him, they don’t want him or his new-fangled photographic apparatus there. But the stranger who calls himself Greider is not to be dissuaded. He wants to stay over winter. After the six sons of the wealthiest farmer in the village give their okay, Greider is allowed to stay with Luzi (Paula Beer) and her mother (Carmen Gratl). Luzi is about to marry Lukas (Thomas Schubert), but something isn’t quite right there. And it is obvious that Greider has his own motives as well.
The Dark Valley was really successful and got some great reviews, but honestly, I don’t get it. It was boring, confusing where it wasn’t obvious and took some seriously misguided steps in the soundtrack department. Disappointing.
Punk Mae (Anna Posch) has spent a lot of time on the streets with her friends, because she definitely didn’t want to spend time with her mother (Susi Stach). Or school. Not after her brother’s death. That’s also the reason that she moved into an abandoned house with her friends. Mae has to do community service hours in the HIV/Aids center in Vienna. There she meets Paul (Markus Subramaniam) who is a patient there and irresistible. Without much ado, Mae packs her bags and moves in with him.
Chucks was a nice film that deviates quite a bit from the novel its based on – and usual to its own and Mae’s detriment. While the film was enjoyable, it never quite reaches the book’s level.
Roman (Thomas Schubert) is in juvie, and has been there since he was fourteen. Five years later and a possibility for parole comes up, but only if he manages to find a job outside – and hold it for a while. After a few false starts, Roman chooses a job at a morgue where he starts working under supervision. But the upcoming change in his future doesn’t only mean figuring out what’s going to happen, but also coming to grips with his past.
Atmen is an extremely confident and competent debut and a frankly fantastic movie. I’m very impressed, not only with Karl Markovics as a director, but also with Thomas Schubert and the rest of the cast.