Alongside Trocker’s direction, the proactive efforts of cinematographer Klemens Hufnagl and editor Julia Drack cover up any flaws in Human Factors and make the experience peculiarly interesting. The varying perspectives are well choreographed and overlapped with one another due to some crisp editing, ensuring that the sudden shifts in time and place don’t seem bland. Hufnagl’s camera work further plays a crucial role in delivering the overall impact. The exterior shots featuring the forests near the Belgian-German border appear dense and dark, further intensifying the film’s ardor, especially when the invasion incident keeps factoring into things.
But this puzzle is what makes Human Factors fall prey to its own style and purpose. Almost throughout the second half, when we dive into the point-of-views of the kids, the plot does not open up to a resolution. The perspectives remain tightly woven throughout, but that has the effect of stretching the guessing game for far too long. The drama appears to be a little bleak in those moments and seems to go nowhere. Trocker, his team, and the actors’ combined efforts tend to suppress these flaws significantly when the voyeuristic frames reshape the tale per each vantage point.
“…deliver[s] an astonishing climax in the final 10 minutes.”
The motion picture redeems itself by delivering an astonishing climax in the final 10 minutes. The last perspective opens up the absolute truth about the story, its characters, the invasion, and the filmmaker’s overarching theme, which will indeed send some chills down the spine. Trocker aims to reveal the ugliness of unmended and neglected wounds in familial relationships and unravels how the chaotic annoyance caused by them brings out the worst “factors” in any “human.”
One of the most delicate aspects present is that the narrative doesn’t necessarily blame any particular character for all the anarchy in the family. There isn’t one villain, and the issues arise for multiple reasons. A lack of communication, conflicting ideologies, and daily distress potentially cause each family member to grow apart. Trocker never strongly implicates anyone and focuses on everyone’s personal burdens, making his movie quite human.
Trocker’s idea isn’t new, and neither are his characters. A strained marriage, an angry, rebellious teen, and a self-contained youngest are typical cinematic family cliches we witness through countless harsh ordeals in several films. Yet, the idea of giving each character a different story and background, and the compelling way the camera captures it, makes Human Factors complete.
"…comes across as intense, having a noir-like atmosphere."