Comedy Oddities: Snowflake

Quentin Tarantino has a lot to answer for, perhaps it’s unfair to blame him but ever since Reservoir Dogs hit our screens there’s been a great deal of Tarantino-esque films filled with extreme violence, snappy dialogue and unpredictable structures, most of which have been a struggle to sit through. But for once this very dark German comedy drama from directors Adolfo J. Kolmerer and William James is fairly decent, possibly because it’s far more meta than his output tends to be and plays around with some fun ideas, and it feels like the Tarantino of the 90s rather than the dull version kicking about today. It’s by no means perfect and definitely has it’s flaws but it’s much better than the majority of movies influenced by him.

Set in a near future in an unpleasantly violent version of Berlin after an opening scene where our two leads Tan (Erkan Acar) and Javid (Reza Brojerdi) discuss eating kebabs despite dead bodies surrounding them they find a screenplay in a stolen car which word for word contains all of the dialogue we’ve witnessed so far. They track down the writer who confesses that he’s seen them both in his imagination and proves it by matching every sentence they come out with. There’s also a subplot concerning Eliana (Xenia Assenza), whose parents have been killed and Carson (David Masterson), the bodyguard who failed them, with Eliana wishing to seek revenge upon those responsible for the deaths, and despite the fact that it’s not confirmed for forty odd minutes it’s not exactly rocket science as to who she wants dead.

Early on the ending is revealed when Tan and Javid read the script but they decide that they can change events, though for a while life and death get in the way including their almost demise at the hands of two Polish serial killers, an encounter with an angel called Snowflake (hence the title) and Hyper Electro Man (Mathis Landwehr), a vigilante who electrocutes wrongdoers and leaves their smouldering corpses behind seemingly without a care of the world. They also catch up with the writer a couple of times to provide events with a lot of meta humour, interact with a man who wants to become the new Hitler, and oh, did I mention that God makes a couple of appearances as well? Ah, seems like I missed that bit out.

A lot of the humour revolves around the senseless violence that often takes place but there’s some strong scenes with the scriptwriter, especially when he’s criticising his own dialogue, and Hyper Electro Man provides some fun moments too. Tan and Javid make for a likeable couple of leads and have some cute exchanges, even if such scenes really do feel a little sub-Tarantino on occasion, and the bounty hunters who offer a service which includes the punchline of your choice just before they kill someone made me laugh a lot. Plus who wouldn’t enjoy God popping up and helping proceedings move along, unless you find the idea blasphemous, but if that is the case this probably isn’t for you.

As mentioned in the first paragraph it’s not without it’s issues, it’s not until almost an hour in that we get a backstory for Tan and Javid as to why they’re such murderous individuals which makes it hard to sympathise with them up until that point, I wish they’d developed Snowflake’s character a little more and some of Eliana’s antics slow the film down a bit towards the end, and could have been told in a more interesting way. But it’s a smart, unpredictable flick that has a lot of fun with it’s concept, and though it’s not essential viewing it’s definitely worth catching if the above sounds appealing.

Alex Finch.

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