Austria’s entry for the Best Foreign Language Oscar is a western movie set in the Alps. Famous British actor Sam Riley has the lead accompanied by the well-known Austrian actor Tobias Moretti.
A stranger named Greider arrives in a rather isolated settlement somewhere in the mountains. He wants to rent a room during the winter. The people are reluctant but finally accept his payment. Winter comes and during the next time several people die. Not just anybody but the sons of the farmer Brenner who is some sort of patriarchal disposer in the region.
After some time Greider’s reasons are revealed and in a flashback the story of a dark chapter in the history of the little valley is told.
At first the movie seemed really promising but I ended up deeply disappointed. The story was very forseeable. We spent half of the movie laughing at our predictions coming true. There was nothing original or surprising. Furthermore, the music did not blend in with the atmosphere. At all. In some cases rather “modern” music works great with a movie set in past decades. Well, not here.
Moving on to the actors I was not too impressed as well. Sam Riley plays some sort of American cowboy who speaks German. I don’t know whether Sam Riley actually speaks German but in the movie it seemed like he has no clue what he is saying. He had hardly any text except for “yes” and “no”. In many scenes his comment would have added up on the atmosphere and intensity of the movie but there was absolutely nothing but silence. Another point that really annoyed me was the dialect spoken. They somehow managed to get a cast that is not capable of talking the same dialect. I think there were not even two people in the movie talking the same way. As it is set in a small village far away from any other form of civilisation it really bugged me.
In addition to that many of the actors had not much charisma. They didn’t leave any impression, only very few really created a good atmosphere.
I’m pretty sure there won’t be an Academy Award for Austria this year.