|The Frankfurt-Tipp rating:|
|Direction:||Stefan Hillebrand / Oliver Paulus|
|Production country:||Schweiz/Deutschland 2013|
|Running time:||Approx. 98 min.|
Valentin (Joel Basman) is pissed! Pissed off at the fate that confined him to a wheelchair after a snowboarding accident, and pissed off at his mother, who is now forcing him to participate in a theater project for the disabled. In a care facility in South Tyrol, Valentin is supposed to learn not only how to cope better with his disability, but also how to get his enormous anger under control. But that doesn't really seem to work. Valentin meets the social workers and his roommates in the home with aggression and cynicism. Especially with his roommate Titus (Bastian Wurbs) Valentin clashes again and again. But all that changes when he meets the beautiful nurse Mira (Anna Unterberger). In her presence Valentin slowly comes out of his shell. Too bad Mira is dating the slimeball Marc (Ricardo Angelini). Tired of always being the victim, Valentin decides to teach the world a lesson and rob the gas station where Marc works. Titus and Lukas (Nikki Rappl), who is also in a wheelchair and can only communicate with his environment via a computer, offer themselves as accomplices. This is not only the beginning of a real friendship, but also of an adventure that could fundamentally change the way everyone involved views their lives and their disabilities.
With their fourth feature film together, Vielen Dank für Nichts, the directing duo Stefan Hillebrand and Oliver Paulus deliver a charming comedy that tells their story about dealing with a difficult fate and their plea for tolerance without any form of kitsch or the usual consternation. Her film is not always politically correct, but precisely because of this it shows that she takes her protagonists very seriously. It was enormously important for Hillebrand and Paulus to cast most of the roles with genuinely disabled people, with experienced actors acting alongside amateurs. Many moments are then also improvised, which makes the film seem very authentic.
The greatest strength of the comedy is the pleasantly uninhibited handling of topics that are otherwise in the cinema gladly only touched with kid gloves. While some moments do seem a bit over the top, overall the directors consistently find just the right tone to come across as not only honest, but genuinely funny. However, Thank You for Nothing is not a pure comedy. There are also many thoughtful moments and also some very tender scenes, in which the good chemistry between Joel Basman and Anna Unterberger absolutely pays off.
Anyway, especially Joel Basman can inspire with his acting. At the beginning, you still get the feeling that he's laying it on a little thick with the anger Valentin carries inside of him, which unloads in really nasty vulgarities towards his fellow man. But when he allows the viewer to delve a little deeper into his character's psyche, that extreme anger becomes completely understandable and the transformation he undergoes over the course of the story all the more moving.
Thanks for Nothing is a pleasantly quirky feel-good movie that may not be quite as crowd-pleasing as other dramaturgically similar works due to its sometimes very obviously improvised nature. But if you like refreshing art house comedies, you shouldn't miss this warm-hearted story about people who free themselves from their victim role imposed by society in a very unusual way. Worth seeing
An article by Frankfurt-Tipp