Edukators, The (Germany/Austria; 127 min.)

directed by: Hans Weingartner
starring: Daniel Brühl; Julia Jentsch; Stipe Erceg
Die Fetten Jahre sind vorbei

Bruce says: "***SPOILERS***

"Buoyed by top notch acting and a wickedly comic, insightful script, Hans Weingartner’s THE EDUKATORS keeps us in the edge of our seats while it teaches us some valuable lessons about human nature, politics, ethics and integrity. Jan (Daniel Brühl) and Peter (Stipe Erceg) are longtime friends and roommates. They are new age anarchists. At night they break into McMansions, reek havoc with the interiors by moving all the furniture around, ending with a signature stack of items in the middle of a large room. On the stack they pin notes such as 'Your days of plenty are numbered,' or 'You have too much money.' The notes are signed 'The Edukators.' They do not break or destroy anything nor do they take anything out of the houses.

"Jule (Julia Jentsch) is Peter’s girlfriend who waitresses in an upscale eatery where she can do nothing right. She is evicted from her flat because she cannot pay the rent. Several months earlier she rear-ended a fancy Mercedes and was discovered to have an expired license and lapsed insurance. Now she is saddled with an immense debt she cannot repay.

"While Peter is out of town, Jule and Jan spend time together. Jan confesses what he and Peter have been doing and Jule wants to go out with Jan to do some surveillance. When they stumble upon the house of the Mercedes owner, Jule insists they break in. Once inside, they toss things around until the interior is pretty messy. They also get slightly destructive when they throw the sofa into the indoor pool. When Peter returns Jan and Jule do not tell him about their adventure. Soon Jule discovers she lost her cellphone during the escapade.

"Jan and Jule sneak out to return to the scene of their crime and get caught by the home owner as they are about to leave. They knock him unconscious and call Peter for help. The three decide there is nothing to do but to kidnap the rich guy and take him to a deserted mountain cabin.

"At the cabin they discover that the man they kidnapped was once an anarchist of the highest order, one of Red Rudi’s gang. Now he makes over 3 million euros a year and compulsively buys luxuries he does not have the time to enjoy. Slowly the relationships among the four characters change. The scriptwriters are clever to have each person speak in character letting the viewer come to conclusions about what is moral, how political vs. personal ethics differ, and why it is difficult to maintain integrity. They have taken on a huge task and executed it well.

"Daniel Brühl, so good in GOOD BYE LENIN!, delivers an even better performance here. Julia Jentsch, Stipe Erceg, and Burghart Klausser are perfectly cast. This is great ensemble acting. 5 cats"

Michael says: "THE EDUKATORS is one of that new breed of German films combining youthful rebelliousness, crisp visuals, and adult issues a la the films of Tom Tykwer to create something that is fresh and entertaining. Daniel Brühl (GOOD BYE LENIN) stars as Jan, a young revolutionary who with his friend Peter (Stipe Erceg) attack the capitalistic system by breaking into the villas of the wealthy, rearranging their furniture and leaving notes such as, 'Your days are numbered.' When Peter’s girlfriend Jule (Julia Jentsch) a victim of the system gets involved, things go horribly awry, and the trio is forced to kidnap their next homeowner.

"Director Hans Weingartner keeps things tense, yet avoids so many of the clichés usually found in this type of political adventure film. As the film nears its climax, the absurdity of the situation translates into humor and irony, with a couple of neat twist endings that leave you smiling. 4 cats"