World War II is always a good field for mortality play, throwing enemies combatants into a situation where their lives reside in each other’s hands. Jeff Fry makes his directorial debut exploring remorse in the final days of the Third Reich – examining the combined ethics between the soldiers of both Axis and Allied powers. While Krieg manages to create a tactile authenticity to this exercise, but its narratives are often convoluted and bogged down with strictly expository dialogue.
Konrad Winter (Heiko Obermöller) has recently been chastised and demoted for interfering with the interrogations of Parisian fighters, and now serves under a new captain (Marko Jankovic), a former Dachau training officer. When the captain mercilessly executes prisoners in his attempt to find a resistance transmitter in the region, Winter is plagued by his inaction and becomes completely disillusioned with the war effort. When an Allied plane crashes down the mountain from the German’s post, Winter risks desertion, and even his life, to protect a wounded enemy airman (Scott Bailey).
“…Winter risks desertion, and even his life, to protect a wounded enemy airman…”
There would be an underlying sense of genuineness to the events and characters in the film, even if this particular event did not exactly happen. The cruelness of war as well as the ultimate cost of it, are all boldly on display in all its forms. However, these elements are stunted by the complete lack of character depth from people on all sides – relying on exposition dumps and thousand-yard staring contests between animosity-driven individuals to drive its drama. The cast does an admirable job with what they have, the film looks consistent to the period, but its cookie-cutter characters and by-the-numbers plot bare are haphazardly jumbled together.
Though Krieg manages to make its central themes fully accessible to any audience, it does so at the expense of its characters’ believability and its overall dramatic potential.
Krieg (2018) Directed by Jeff Fry. Written by Jeff Fry. Starring Heiko Obermöller, Marko Jankovic, Scott Bailey, Alexander Schottky, Zoey Sidwell.
5 out of 10