|The Frankfurt-Tipp rating:|
|Production country:||Deutschland/Luxemburg/Belgien 2017|
|Running time:||Approx. 102 min.|
Frankfurt am Main in 1946: the war is over and people are trying to rebuild the country and heal the deep wounds left by the war. David Bermann (Moritz Bleibtreu) is one of the Jews who survived the horrors of the Nazi regime. Like so many others, he doesn't want to stay in Germany any longer than necessary and wants to emigrate to the USA. But to do so, he first needs a lot of money. To get it, the eloquent businessman joins forces with some other Jewish survivors to sell the Germans the finest linen. The plan works and soon business is booming. But there is a secret in Bermann's past that now threatens to catch up with him. He must submit to constant interrogation by U.S. officer Sara Simon (Antje Traue), in which a possible collaboration with the Nazis is to be uncovered. But the charming Bermann does not want to be convicted so easily of a crime he did not commit. Or is there some truth behind the accusations?
With "Once Upon a Time in Germany" director Sam Garbarski ("Irina Palm") ventures to the novels "Die Teilacher" and "Machloikes" by Michel Bergmann. However, Garbarski has interpreted the complex original very freely in order to make something entirely his own. In doing so, he doesn't seem to be able to quite decide whether the whole thing should be a comedy, a satire or a post-war drama. The film has some very amusing moments that score points with biting and cryptic humor. This is also where Moritz Bleibtreu is at his best as the eloquent businessman. Watching him turn towels and tablecloths on his customers or try to get his head out of the noose in interrogations with Sara Simon is a lot of fun.
But especially in the second half of the film, the tone of the production changes too often and too drastically. Mixing comedy and drama can work very well in principle. But here it just doesn't quite work. The individual scenes work very well on their own, but there is just one part in the story where the almost blatant discrepancy between comedy and bitter drama doesn't want to go together. To be able to laugh heartily again after what happens here is almost impossible.
It is a pity that the production as a whole seems somewhat indecisive. Because in terms of actors, equipment and also story "Es war einmal in Deutschland" can actually completely convince. But the feeling remains that Garbarski himself didn't really know where the journey should go. The film is far from being bad. However, despite many successful aspects, it is unfortunately not really good either. And that's a real shame considering the potential that the story and the actors offer. And so it is then in the end only enough for one: with small restrictions worth seeing!
An article by Frankfurt-Tipp