Review: Grimm Love aka Rohtenburg (2006)

GrimmLoveDirected by Martin Weisz

Starring: Keri Russell, Thomas Huber, Thomas Kretschmann

When Armin Meiwes, a German computer technician, was found guilty of cannibalism, the world was shocked. Yet what was most shocking was not that he ate someone but that someone willingly volunteered to be eaten. Shooting this semifictionalized account of the crime in the washed-out blues of a German winter, debut director Weisz uses American grad student Katie Armstrong to coolly unravel this conundrum. Played by Russell, who has come a long way since Felicity, she reconstructs and tries to comprehend the incomprehensible. In flashbacks, veteran German actor Kretschmann is Meiwes’ analog Oliver; Huber is willing victim Simon. Both bring a dark, disturbing understanding to their characters.

Oddly, it’s Russell who has the hardest job. Kretschmann and Huber have their joint obsession to power their scenes; Russell is alone, chasing ghosts. She’s like Clarice Starling if she never met Hannibal Lecter. Without the clumsy prop of a monster chasing his female lead, Weisz depends on tension and gruesome scenes for a striking metaphysical shocker.

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