Film Review: NOT MY DAY (Nicht Mein Tag) (Germany 2014) ***

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not my day
Bank teller Till Reiners’ life is torn out of a rut by a series of offbeat coincidences, which ultimately lead him to find himself and realize: His life isn’t so bad after all…

Director: Peter Thorwarth
Writers: Stefan Holtz, Ralf Husmann (novel)
Stars: Moritz Bleibtreu, Axel Stein, Jasmin Gerat

Review by Gilbert Seah
Those quick to dismiss this straight to VOD platform German action comedy will miss this quiet gem of a box-office hit in its own country. Though the incidents in the story have been used in other films before, director Thorwarth still injects a certain freshness to their execution, so that all ends up good in this very entertaining comedy.

The film is part road trip part buddy buddy and part romantic comedy film centring on two mismatched characters. The film begins with what appears to be a bank job with a guy stuck in the building when police arrive. Director Thorwath tells what has happened that has has to this state of affairs.

It all begins when a disgruntled bank client Nappo (Moritz Bleibtreu) expresses his anger at waiting his turn while the bank officer, Till (Axel Stein) openly talks about a retirement party for one of the tellers. In his office, Nappo is denied a loan. In the next scene Till is shown having a lengthy argument wit his wife on the office phone about silly stuff like vacation time. Unknowing to Till, the bank is being robbed by a masked man. When the getaway driver takes off, the bank robber takes Till hostage. Taking off his mask, the robber is revealed to be Nappo who forces Till to drive him out of town. Thus begins the road trip of the two mis-matched characters.

If all this sounds a bit mundane, Thorwarth executes the above with grand flare. What works particularly is the contrasting chemistry of the two. Till follows rules while Nappu breaks them. Though they have opposite tastes in music they do share a comical sing-along in one of the film’s best scenes. Till is bespectacled, strumming his guitar while Nappo is screaming out the words: “yeah, yeah!” It is a meaningful scene which hits the truth in which people who can share the likes of an identical song can immediately bond.

The film also plays for romantic comedy with Till’s marriage to his wife, Miriam. They don’t have sex as she is aways back late from work trying to make it in the design business. Till, as he says, makes the money to pay the bills by doing a job he says he hates. They hope to rekindle the fire of their relationship, oddly enough from a vacation that they cannot coordinate in terms of time.

When Till thinks his wife is cheating on him, Nappo’s hilarious advise is: “Snap out of it! There are other chicks in town.” This is how Nappo convinces Till to do a job for money. The caper leads to a climatic car chase in Amsterdam at night with cars crashing into the canals.

What distinguishes this film from making it so engaging, is that director Thorwarth allows the audience to identify with all the film’s characters, from Till, Nappo and even the wife. They are shown as real characters especially, when the square Till finally throws caution out the window and goes ultimately crazy, at one point taking down a gang of Albanian gangsters.

If this comedy is your cup of tea, Milky Way also has released on major VOD platforms on July 11th, a part of their ‘comedies a la carte’ collection:
– DYKE HARD (Directed by: Bitte Anderson, Comedy, Sweden, 90 mins)
– LOVE AT FIRST CHILD (Directed by: Anne Giaferri, Comedy, France, 91mins)
– ONE MAN AND HIS COW (Directed by: Mohamed Hamidi, Comedy, France, 91 mins)
WINWIN (Directed by: Daniel Hoesl, Comedy, Austria, 84 mins)

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