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The Edukators (R)

Release Date: July 22nd, 2005 (NYC-Lincoln Plaza Cinemas and the IFC Center) by IFC Films.
The Cast: Daniel Brühl,Julia Jentsch,Stipe Erceg,Burghart Klaußner
In German with subtitles.
Directed by Hans Weingartner

BASIC PREMISE: Jan, Jule, and Peter, a trio of young rebels, re-arrange the furniture in rich people's homes, but end up kidnapping a homeowner who surprises them.

ENTERTAINMENT VALUE: There are many pleasant surprises throughout this energetic film. The plot is very unpredictable and feels very fresh. It is filled with a wide array of different genres. The first half of the film is mostly in the action genre, as Jan and Jule, two of the rebels (Brühl and Jentsch, respectively) trespass into rich people's homes and mess around with their furniture. The second half of the film is in the genre of drama as the rebels get to know Hardenberg (Klaußner) who they end up kidnapping. Hardenberg is not just any rich man--he was once involved in a car accident Jule, who is struggling to pay him for it. To complicate the matters, Jan is secretly in love with Jule, but she is in a relationship with the third rebel, Peter. With a plot this complicated, one would think that it would become a confused mess by the end. Fortunately, with a stellar script and very good direction, it is very easy to watch. There is even some much-needed humor, especially during the first half. Daniel Brühl, who gained a lot of recognition from his role in the film Good Bye Lenin! once again shows that he is a very talented actor. This is not a movie about tangible conflicts; there are no real enemies, especially because they never actually kill anyone. Rather, there is simply a conflict of ideas. Every character is complex, full of surprises, and even troubled in some way--but they are all likeable despite some of their actions.

SPIRITUAL VALUE: In the second half of this film, there are many thought provoking messages that come up, especially as Hardenburg openly talks about his philosophy about wealth to his kidnappers. The issue is whether or not money can really bring you happiness with all the accumulated things that you feel attached to. One interesting statement that Hardenberg makes is that more money means more responsibilities, which makes him feel as if he is trapped in a jail. The most moving scene is near the end when he does something unexpectedly kind and even heartwarming to Jule.



THE BOTTOM LINE: A very exciting film full of surprises and interesting philosophical questions. Its unpredictable plot and warm characters is like a breath of fresh air.

RECOMMENDED WAY TO WATCH: Movie Theater (1st Run)

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