Balloon – 2020

  • Originality: To escape from East Germany into the West was the dream of most freethinking Germans and this film highlights a real-life escape attempt by a family who has sewn their own hot air balloon. This film is well-written, even if it has several flourishes for dramatic effect, but these do a good job of highlighting the pressure of living in East Germany during the Cold War. [4.0]
  • Performances: This actors in this film come from German cinema, but they play their roles well and with the right level of conviction. Particular praise goes to Thomas Kretschmann who channelled his own experiences in East Germany into his performance as the man intent on stopping the escape which was most certainly a sobering experience for him. [4.5]
  • Technicality: This film relies on a lot of dark scenes, due to the nature of the escape and Michael Herbig does a great job of lighting the scenes so that the audience knows what’s going on and instills a sense of urgency. The effects of this film are well-done and the pressure of the escape is never overshadowed by poor visual effects or unnecessary framing. [4.5]
  • Rewatchability: I was lucky enough to see this film as a preview before the U.S. premiere and it will be great to watch it again in a less intense setting. The subject matter isn’t going to make it a frequent rewatch, but it’s quick to hook as soon as it starts and I don’t doubt that it’ll be one that plays through once it starts. [4.0]

Total – [17.0/20.0]

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