Thursday, 16 May 2013
C(r)ook (3½ Stars)
I wonder how the name of this film is supposed to be pronounced. Is it "crook" or "cook" or even "crook cook"? The original title of the film in German is "Basta", an exclamation which means "That's enough" or "I'm finished now". But in the opening credits the word (if it can be called a word) "C(r)ook" appears on the splash screen, so even German viewers are presented with this unpronounceable fantasy word.
The film takes place in Vienna. The central characters are members of the Russian mafia, who evidently rule over the city. The film begins in an Austrian prison. Oskar Boroschnin has taken a guard hostage in an attempt to escape. He is interrupted by Maria, the prison psychologist. Maria tells Oskar that he can't leave because he has to finish his anger management classes. He says he will stay in prison if he can take her to dinner when he's released. They agree, and he returns to his cell.
Fast forward two years. Oskar has completed his sentence, and he's living with Maria. The therapy was obviously successful, because he now abhors violence and wants to leave the mafia. He is working as a cook, and he wants to publish a cookbook with recipes of typical gangster meals. His boss, the "Godfather of Vienna", tells him he can leave the mafia if he carries out one last job, the murder of his son-in-law. But due to the changes after his therapy Oskar doesn't feel able to kill anyone, so he goes to great lengths to deceive his boss.
The film takes a long time to warm up, but as it progresses it becomes exciting and sometimes even funny. Think of it as a cross between "The Sopranos" and "In China they eat dogs". Unfortunately it isn't as good as either. The film is available on DVD with English subtitles.