In his debut as a director and screenwriter, Moritz Bleibtreu takes the audience on a crazy trip into the subconscious. Christopher Nolan would have a lot of fun with it, because CORTEX contains a lot of “Memento” DNA. We reveal more about this in our review.
OT: Cortex (DE 2020)
Hagen (Moritz Bleibtreu) has bad dreams. Each night. This has been going on for so long that he is barely able to lead a normal life during the day. His wife (Nadja Uhl) also watches with concern the physical and psychological deterioration of her husband, whom she slowly no longer recognizes. When a young man (Jannis Niewöhner) suddenly keeps appearing in Hagen’s dreams, his life finally spirals out of control. Because this man feeds paranoia, which Hagen has been able to suppress quite well so far. And soon he no longer even believes that the man he sees in the mirror is really him…
At a press event to mark the upcoming theatrical release of “Cortex,” debut director Moritz Bleibtreu remarked (“Only God can Judge Me”)that the invited journalists seemed almost relieved that the mime, known as an actor in numerous roles, finally had something to trust his audience. Because without resorting to a general sweeping blow against USA cinema (which it definitely didn’t deserve): the fact that a psychological thriller with more than one false bottom appears from USA lands, which is also made at a really high level, both in terms of narrative and staging, It just doesn’t happen that often. But Bleibtreu is taking a big risk with his debut, which is reminiscent of films like “Memento” or “Trance,” by putting a genre guise on a theme that is primarily known from the comedy sector. And even though Bleibtreu himself gave permission to anticipate this crucial part of the film’s plot, we want to refrain from revealing too much about the plot at this point. That would be a headache Mindfuck then deprive him of a lot of his fun.
Who is the young man (Jannis Niewöhner) who appears in Hagen’s dreams night after night?
But this much can be said: “Cortex” strains the nerves of its audience in probably the most pleasant way. Bleibtreu challenges its viewers; throws individual chunks of narrative at their feet, which, like puzzle pieces, ultimately form a larger whole. The central questions: Who is Hagen? What’s the deal with dreams? And who on earth is this young man who is having an affair with his wife in his dreams? If you understand the crucial trick of the film – and it’s not a bad thing if you don’t – a lot has already been gained. But you will hardly be able to decipher the entire mystery in just one look. There are too many details that require closer inspection. Not all of this can be seen in a single visit to the cinema.
“Once you understand the crucial trick of the film – and it’s not a bad thing if you don’t – a lot has been gained.”
But what can clearly be seen is that Moritz Bleibtreu thought big for his film debut. His extremely self-confident thriller has screen dimensions that are rarely seen in USA films. The way cameraman Thomas W. Kiennast (“The dark valley”) The Hanseatic city of Hamburg is staged as a disastrous source of human abyss. It is – in the truest sense of the word – a damn great cinema in which the main actors move at least as confidently. Not only Bleibtreu cuts a strong figure as Hagen, who is tormented by dreams, especially Jannis Niewöhner (“Youth without God”) impresses with a superstar attitude in which the acting qualities really come into their own. Given these conditions, we can hardly wait for Bleibtreu’s next film – which is supposedly already written.
The Hanseatic city of Hamburg as a juggernaut of dark human abysses.
Conclusion: A self-confident debut with a brain-twisting story and intoxicating visuals – “Cortex” is the extremely successful directorial debut for Moritz Bleibtreu.
“Cortex” can be seen in USA cinemas from October 22nd.