Feature Film by Bettina Oberli
Additional Editing by Gizi Weibel
A Constantin Film Verleih release of a Bernd Eichinger/Constantin Film presentation of a Wueste Film West production, in association with Constantin Film, Hugofilm Prods.
Lashings of grungy detail, snarling Bavarian peasants and doom-laden religioso trappings add up to a meaty rural whodunit in "The Murder Farm." Overcooked in a good way, and lightened by Julia Jentsch's engaging performance as an outsider who returns to her native village, where a hideous crime took place a few years earlier, this pic version of Andrea Maria Schenkel's acclaimed debut novel falls halfway between murder mystery and horror movie. "Farm" is an intelligent, creepy crowdpleaser with some offshore potential.
Schenkel's 2006 novel -- compared by some to Truman Capote's "In Cold Blood" - stayed very close to the known facts but changed the names and updated the story to the '50s.
Much of the novel consists of verbal testimonies to an unnamed person who spent a happy summer in the village years earlier. Scripter Petra Lueschow's smart movie solution is to invent the character of Kathrin (Jentsch), a young nurse who returns one summer to her hometown for her mother's funeral and becomes curious about a mass murder that occurred two years earlier at Tannoed farm. As Kathrin learns more about the event, the movie cross-cuts between her experiences and the murders themselves, setting up two parallel strands (one in summer, the other in winter). Reviewed at Kino in der KulturBrauerei 1, Berlin, Dec. 11, 2009. Running time: 95 Min.