We have first nighter tickets. It is Monday evening and it is raining cats and dogs outside. It is not tempting at all to leave home once more. But still, the prospect of a genre thriller by a Brunswick director lures me: The end of truth. At the same time a TV film critics augurs well for it. Well, I grit my teeth and ride the bike through the pouring rain. But this much is true: it was worth it and not only because the leading actors and the director of the movie were at the cinema as well.
Certainly, Philipp Leinemann’s work is not the first one that shows quite plainly the filthy secret service’s business in all its dimensions and involvements. I am thinking of movies like “Body of lies”, “Syriana”, “Good kill” or the British TV series “Our Girl”. The director managed to assemble a high-class cast for his film. Especially Alexander Fehlinger (Patrick Lemke) made a big impression on me in this role as “ideal officer”, who thinks he is making a career and suddenly realizes that he is just a means to an end.
Within the adjacent interview after the movie screening Leinemann explains that Fehlinger interpreted and shaped his role on his own. A real stroke of genius to me. Rightly he received the German film award as an actor in a supporting role for it.
Here is the plot in short: The German Intelligence Service officer Martin Behrens is an expert on Central Asia. He spend a lot of time abroad, speaks Farsi and Urdu. One can guess that his marriage failed due to his work. Now he is in a relationship with the journalist Aurice Köhler. His business is collecting secret information; information that causes difficulties to other person’s lives and sometimes kills them. One day his girl-friend becomes a victim of his information transfer, when terrorists execute an act of revenge. This is when Behrens starts to investigate on his own. What he reveals are lies, conspiracies and the greed for power and money that sticks at nothing.
During his investigations he realizes that he is part of the machinery of power and thus supports it with his work, consequently he is also responsible for his girlfriend’s death – in a way. In the end, the price he has to pay is the loss of his concept of live so far: his girlfriend is dead, his wife has left, his daughter remains aloof, no job, no perspective. The audience already has a premonition of the upcoming end: that cannot turn out all right.
The plot is fascinating – no doubt about it and highly topical at the same time. Just think of Syria, Saudi-Arabia or even Austria. And still, the audience strangely remains unaffected by Behrens because you cannot identify with him. Maybe because he is not a sympathetic character when he subordinates his daughter’s birthday to meetings of the Secret Service or snubs at his girlfriend because she visits him at a business meeting – and thus act against his wishes. As far as I am concerned I can hardly see any development within that character, that role of Behrens. In contrast to that his opponent, Patrick Lemke, reflects himself. The leader of the crisis squad sets out as an officer with a stick up his butt and leaves the film disenchanted on the battle field of Zahiristan, torn apart by a bomb. Behrens, however, survives all, just like a cartoon character that loses its skin in one scene and regains it in another.
Well, one question remains: what’s in the story that really scares the audience? Is it that everything seems to be so realistic? That truth is not kind but brutal and power-obsessed? Or is it just the disenchantment that „war on terror“ using disgusting methods is not justified at all? And is that politics is a sordid business?
Well, I wonder what kind of truth we are talking about? Or is the truth that we are the good ones and the other the bad ones? Or is it that greed is simply the abyss and therefore a universal truth? Well, but then it would not end here …