Tuesday, 2 August 2016

The Sandman (4 Stars)

Watching a psychological thriller like "The Sandman" reminds me why German cinema is so outstanding. The film is obviously made on a small budget, but the atmosphere is so oppressive that it's impossible to look away from beginning to end.

Henry Kupfer was charged with murdering a prostitute. He was found guilty of manslaughter and sentenced to eight years in prison. After being released from prison he became a highly successful author of books about serial killers. After the release of his newest book, "The Cannibal", Henry is invited as a guest on a live talk show, "Eye to Eye". The show's producer, Ina Littmann, suspects that Henry is still a murderer, responsible for a recent series of murders of prostitutes across Germany. She thinks she can have the coup of the century by forcing him to confess on live television. As she meets him in preparation for the show her feelings are torn: on the one hand she's horrified by the clues she finds of his guilt, on the other hand she's attracted to him and falls for his charm. The television show, when it finally happens, is a cat and mouse game, but who is the cat and who is the mouse?

The role of Henry Kupfer is played by the veteran German actor Götz George. He's best known for playing the police detective Horst Schimanski in countless made-for-television movies. Of course, I use the word countless figuratively. Someone as pedantic as me has to count. He played the role of Horst Schimanski 52 times. This is one of the rare films in which he plays the bad guy.

Götz George died on June 19th, leaving a long and distinguished film legacy. After hearing about his death I wanted to watch one of his films immediately in his memory, but I had already packed all my DVDs into boxes in preparation for my move. Now I'm catching up. Better late than never. He was one of the giants of cinema. He will be sorely missed.

Götz George
23 July, 1938 – 19 June, 2016

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