Review by: Jack Foley | Rating:
DVD SPECIAL FEATURES: None stated as yet
FROM its opening scene - featuring the aftermath of a burglary
in which the culprits have simply re-arranged the furniture and
ornaments of the rich owners - you can tell that The Edukators
is going to be a hip, intelligent affair.
And so it proves, as Hans Weingartner's darkly comic potboiler
sets about examining the social constraints of an affluent society
as seen through the eyes of the young political activists trying
to change it.
That it also functions as a compelling love triangle only makes
the film more noteworthy, providing characters that could have
become too pretentious (from spouting their ideals) with a heartbeat
that makes them appear more human.
The film centres around Jan (Daniel Brühl), Peter (Stipe
Erceg) and Jule (Julia Jentsch) as they struggle to make ends
meet while living out their rebellious youth.
Jule, especially, is caught in a downward spiral of debt caused
by a car accident for which she was to blame.
What she doesn't realise, though, is that her boyfriend, Peter,
and his best friend, Jan, are 'The Edukators', mysterious perpetrators
who creatively and non-violently warn the local yacht club members
that their 'days of plenty are numbered'.
When Peter is away, however, Jan and Jule find themselves hopelessly
attracted to each other, so much so that when Jan reveals he is
an Edukator, Jule convinces him to break into the home of the
man she owes money to in order to extract her own revenge.
Things go wrong, of course, forcing
Jan and Jule to return to the house a second time, only to be
discovered by the owner, Hardenberg (Burghart Klaussner).
In the ensuing confusion, they call Peter for help and subsequently
make the rash decision to kidnap Hardenberg and take him to a
remote mountain hideaway, where they must decide how to resolve
their predicament while realising the extent of their changing
feelings towards each other.
Weingartner's movie, while a little drawn out in places, proves
a consistently enjoyable affair that throws in plenty of surprises
along the way to its slightly ambiguous finale.
Idealists should have a blast considering the numerous social
arguments it raises, while there is just as much fun to be had
in watching the developing relationships between all four of the
Brühl, especially, builds on the good work he did in Goodybe
Lenin! to deliver a charismatic turn as Jan, an angry young
man whose growing impetuousness gives rise to later self-doubt
caused by his reckless affair with Jule.
While Klaussner is equally compelling as the 'victim' of the
piece, a former young revolutionary who has since been corrupted
by the system he has so loyally come to serve.
It is the resolution of his story arc, in particular, that creates
the film's ambiguity but by opting to keep things optimstic Weingartner
avoids undermining too much of his earlier good work.
Such a positive outlook also helps to ensure that The Edukators
functions as a thought-provoking character drama that isn't prepared
to sacrifice its sense of fun.