Thursday, June 5, 2008

Summer '04 DVD

DVD Review by Kam Williams

Headline: Romance Thriller Revolving around Kinky Love Triangle Due on DVD

15 year-old Nils (Lucas Kotaranin) had no idea what was in store when his precocious, 12 year-old girlfriend’s (Svea Lohde) parents agreed to let her spend her summer vacation at his family’s home on the shore of the Baltic Sea. Mature for her age, Livia soon finds herself bored, so she befriends Bill (Robert Seeliger), a handsome bachelor in his mid-thirties.
When Bill starts taking her for those proverbial long walks along the shore, Nils’ mom, Miriam (Martina Gedeck), intervenes. Afterall, the pre-pubescent adolescent has been entrusted to her care, plus, the naughty nymphet is about to break her son’s heart.
However, because 40 year-old Miriam’s own relationship with her boyfriend, Andre (Peter Davor), has lost its spark, the question arises whether she might really wants to separate Bill from his jailbait more out of jealousy than a sincere concern for her welfare.
The answer arrives when she ventures over to his house to confront him about his intentions. At first, he feigns innocence, declaring that of course he wouldn’t think of committing statutory rape, and a relieved Miriam seduces him on the spot. The two plunge into a passionate affair, only to have him break it off abruptly several compromising positions later, confessing that he has fallen head over heels for his little Lolita.
Thus unfolds the intriguing romantic roundelay at the center of Summer ’04, as twisted and steamy a psychological thriller as you could hope to find, provided you’re not put off by the pedophilia coursing through the plotline. The film works because each character carries off his or her role with perfect aplomb, and is absolutely convincing in spite of the unseemly scenarios.
At every turn, the claustrophobic stolen moments of forbidden love cut a sharp contrast with the panoramic seascapes. Congrats to director Stefan Krohmer for exploring a shocking taboo without allowing a tawdry tale to dissolve into a predictable morality play about cradle-robbing.

Excellent (4 stars)
In German with subtitles
Running time: 97 minutes
Studio: Koch Lorber Films

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