|Die Frankfurt-Tipp Bewertung:|
|Regie:||Felix van Groeningen|
|Laufzeit:||Ca. 127 min.|
|FSK:||From 12 years|
For many years the different brothers Jo (Stef Aerts) and Frank (Tom Vermeir) had lost sight of each other. But suddenly Frank appears in Jos' music bar and offers to help him out on the weekends behind the counter - an offer that Jo is only too happy to accept. The mixture of Jos' business acumen and Frank's willingness to take risks quickly turned the "Café Belgica" into an absolute cult venue, which soon had to be expanded. Despite their differences, the brothers swim on a wave of success and their lives become one long party for this moment. Rock `n`Roll, women, drugs, alcohol - all this determines the everyday life of both of them from now on. But as Frank in particular loses himself more and more in this intoxication, reality catches up with the brothers again…
With his fifth feature film "Café Belgica" director Felix van Groeningen delivers the eagerly awaited successor to his international surprise success "The Broken Circle". The expectations are high, as the predecessor could leave an enormous impression in terms of acting, music, dramaturgy and especially emotion. And of course one expects a similar effect from the successor. To anticipate: It's off this time. "Café Belgica" has some very good moments, some very well observed snapshots and interesting characters. However, the story can neither captivate with a running time of more than two hours, nor does it offer the kind of emotional depth that "The Broken Circle" had.
It is quite fascinating how van Groeningen traces the rise and fall of the two brothers here. How he slowly strengthens their alienated relationship, only to let them break apart again. And it is also very refreshing to see how authentically the story tells, what a very different effect the events have on Jo and Frank, on their relationship and on their future. Nevertheless, the whole lacks the emotional core that binds the viewer to the characters. The fact that the staging also has a somewhat episodic character and that some events are only cut, while other scenes drag on for a long time, further clouds the overall impression.
That's not to say "Café Belgica" is a bad movie. The actors are very good because they succeed in making their characters look very real. Looking behind the scenes of the music bar has its fascinating moments. But all that wears off in the long run and since - what the story perhaps also brings with it - a certain superficiality is noticeable, the lasting and intense impression that "The Broken Circle" was able to leave doesn't even come close to being left in the end. For program lovers who want to get an authentic insight into the microcosm of a Rock`n`Roll pub, the film is definitely worth seeing!
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