This film has all the ingredients to become a hardcore, sensational thriller about a man who disappeared. The story is structured as an investigation that reveals more and more details about the American cameraman who vanished. Was he murdered? Allen’s friend, a German film director, decides to find out what happened to him. As spectators we want the facts, yet we more or less know from the very beginning that Allen Ross has died – because the filmmaker knows this and communicates that feeling to us in the tone of the film that is first of all low key, a bit monotonous and sad.
It sounds boring, but it is not. Not at all. Paradoxically the story keeps our attention from the beginning till the very end. I have asked myself why, after a couple of screenings. Because it is a fantastic story, yes, but maybe also because you feel that this is an honest approach in a well crafted film where Bauer refrains from any tabloid banalities; there is no appeal to sentimentalism. As he says himself in the film when he characterizes his own part in the film, “I hide behind the camera.” When Bauer is in the picture himself you see almost no signs of emotion on his face, he keeps it inside. This introversion gives the film an intensity that invites reflection on the irrational absurdity of human life.
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