Sunday, November 05, 2017

Cinepocalypse 2017: Snowflake

In near future Germany, immigrants and neo-Nazis openly clash on the streets and emergency services never venture into certain neighborhoods. A robot also plays a minor role, if you were wondering what made it near-futuristic. Murder might be a common occurrence, but not for Eliana. She will deal with some pretty unsavory people for the sake of revenge in Adolfo Kolmerer & William James’ Snowflake (trailer here), which screens tonight during Cinepocalypse 2017 in Chicago.

Javid and Tan shot up the kabab shop where Eliana’s late parents were eating, because they are violent knuckleheads. They deserve some harsh payback, even though they are products of their savage environment. They too seek revenge for the deaths of their families, which they blame on a former security minister turned outlaw paramilitary leader—not without some justification. With the help of her family’s former bodyguard Carson, Eliana will hire some of Europe’s vilest assassins to cap Javid and Tan.

There will be considerable collateral damage, which nobody knows better than Arend Remmers, the screenwriting dentist. Every violent scene he writes comes true. When Javid and Tan find an incomplete early draft, they pay him a little visit hoping to strong arm a better ending out of him, but it is hard to get around certain principles of screenwriting.

Arend Remmers, the real life screenwriter, deserves credit for re-invigorating the Don Quixote/Pirandello-esque conceit of characters acknowledging and responding to the supposedly fictional works in which they appear. In Remmers’ screenplay[s], it is presented in a fittingly surreal and post-modern fashion, but it is never belabored, because there is additional pressing mayhem going on simultaneously, particularly that involving the film’s wildcards, Hyper Electro Man, the costumed vigilante, and Snowflake, Javid and Tan’s supposed guardian angel.

Snowflake is an espresso-charged, pedal-to-the-metal revenge thriller, with a heck of a lot of moving parts, but it still features some downright shockingly memorable performances. Xenia Assenza and David Masterson are terrific together as Eliana and Carson, in what might be the best bodyguard-client movie relationship since Sammo Hung’s The Bodyguard (which could be the best ever).

Adrian Topol also bears watching as Bolek, who turns out to be a surprisingly compassionate cannibalistic Polish hitman (look, you have to make allowances in the future). Alexander Schubert earns some big laughs as Remmers, the on-screen sad sack screenwriter, but neither Reza Brojerdi or Erkan Acar manage to appreciably humanize Javid and Tan, despite the film’s efforts on their behalf. However, the insanity really skyrockets when crafty veteran David Gant appears as Caleb, Carson’s apocalyptic cult-leader father Caleb.

Genre fans will be relieved to know Snowflake’s metaness never gets in the way of the violence. For a dystopia, Adolfo Kolmerer & William James’ Berlin looks a heck of a lot like our world, but it is still an unusually dark vision of the future. Yet, somehow, they also make it wildly entertaining. Highly recommended for fans of cult cinema, Snowflake screens tonight (11/5), as part of this year’s Cinepocalypse.