Til Schweiger’s latest comedy and the start of a trilogy CLASS MEETING 1.0 – THE INCREDIBLE JOURNEY OF THE SILVERBACKS is a hair-raising event in every respect. For what reason? We reveal this in our review.
The Plot Summary
The 30th class reunion is approaching for the friends Nils (Samuel Finzi), Andreas (Milan Peschel) and Thomas (Til Schweiger). And the timing couldn’t be worse for them. Because the frustrated editor Nils has hemorrhoids and suffers from presbyopia, which is why he has become a constantly whining gurnard of a man. Andreas, on the other hand, is divorced and recently found out that his ex was fucking her former couples therapist. And star DJ Thomas, the great womanizer, has promised his new wife that she will be monogamous. Let go of the fright! In order to feel the joy of life again, the three of them go on a lively trip to the big class reunion, where they want to have a blast again. However, there is a problem: Lili (Lilli Schweiger), the daughter of Thomas’ now steady girlfriend, has put herself on the guest list as a minder. So we go on a journey as a quartet…
Movie explanation of the ending
In talk show appearances, Til Schweiger often (not always, mind you!) lumps together the entire criticism profession. In a public talk, he once explained that he had therefore decided not to release his films for regular press screenings: Why pay high costs when the critics already know that the film is bad? And as true as it is unfortunately that there are some individuals in the USA criticism industry who have eaten up the “Keinohrhasen” director and greet each of his new projects with rage and disdain: the criticism profession does not only consist of resentful, prejudgmental black sheep . Fortunately. Because the Hamburg resident has already been responsible for several films worth seeing. The cinema “crime scene” “Tschiller: Off Duty” produced by Schweiger, for example, in which he also played the lead role, is better as a robust action film than the most recent Bond film “Spectre”. The Schweiger production “Our Time is Now” is a golden mix of genres and his early directorial works “Eisbär” and “Barefoot” presented Schweiger as a director to keep an eye on. After his darkly humorous Tarantino homage and his breathy road trip romantic fairy tale, the romantic comedy “Keinohrhasen” and the simultaneously cruder, more comical and more dramatic sequel “Zweiohrküken” were also convincing. But gradually the question can be asked: Where has this Til Schweiger gone?
Andreas (Milan Peschel) and Nils (Samuel Finzi) are amazed when Lilli (Lilli Schweiger) stands on the mat.
In the case of “Honey in the Head”, the director, producer, leading actor, author and editor can rest on the immense success of the dementia dramedy. Almost 7.3 million cinema tickets were sold for the film – even though it not only had a melodramatic and insensitive tone (which is of course to a certain extent purely a question of taste), but also made a few mistakes in the editing that were silent a self-confessed film lover would have to notice. But as much as the children’s film he directed, “Conni & Co 2 – The Secret of the T-Rex”, promised improvement, Schweiger’s latest directorial work demolishes this hope with full force and a butt suffering from hemorrhoids: “Class reunion 1.0 – The incredible journey the silverback” is a textbook editing disaster. And no one can resort to the argument “Yes, you snobby critics pay attention to this, but the normal audience doesn’t even notice this!” Anyone who has ever had trouble trying to decipher a drunk text message from a familiar person or has eaten food in a restaurant that somehow tasted “wrong” should be familiar with the phenomenon: you don’t necessarily know what’s wrong. What should the message be according to Duden? Which spices were swapped?
You don’t have to have completed a degree in USA or have any training in gastronomy to feel the consequences of sloppy work. And even those who don’t have a trained eye will still be touched by the film craft – or left cold. It is not for nothing that some basic cinematic rules have emerged that filmmakers ideally only throw overboard when there is a method to it. Meanwhile, “Class Reunion 1.0” shows over two hours what happens when a part of the cinematic grammar is trampled on. The cut. At the beginning of the film we see Samuel Finzi’s exhausted, constantly annoyed father Nils having a failed breakfast. And the verbal exchange between Nils, his wife, his son, his daughter and their friend is handled in staccato editing by the editors Schweiger and Robert Kummer. A character says a half-sentence, cut to one of the listeners, cut to another listener, cut to the character who is still speaking, cut, cut, cut… Sometimes only fractions of a second pass between the different shots, and so Schweiger doesn’t give his audience the opportunity to to read the ensemble’s performances. This means that the character Nils remains a blank slate in his introductory scene. He makes a homophobic comment, complains about getting older and complains to his daughter’s lover. But from the few flashing images of Finzi it is impossible to tell: Is Nils a stuffy bastard, a prankster cracking old man’s jokes with a politically incorrect sense of humor, or a pitiable buffoon with a few character flaws? Is it perhaps something completely different?
The friends’ car is just junk…
This is how it runs through almost the entire running time of this comedy, which cameraman Adrian Cranage captures in the striking Schweiger look, which is simply part of the “Kokowääh” maker’s style with an earthy color palette and increased contrast, but also with soft focus: Til Schweiger cuts dialogue scenes the way Michael Bay cuts action in his most hectic films. And when it comes to slapstick and other commotion, things get even more confusing. Compared to “Class Reunion 1.0,” “Quantum of Solace” is a delicate, prime example of restrained editing work – and so Schweiger destroys one film passage after the next. This applies to gags or humorous character moments. At the start of their planned adventure trip, when Nils, Andreas and Thomas are excited about what a great party they want to celebrate, Lilli Schweiger walks into the picture with a smug, spoilsport look and calmly licks her ice cream. A moment that says a lot about Lilli Schweiger’s character as a mischievous moral guardian and is at the same time humorous, as it visually highlights the discrepancy in the film’s central personnel. At least in theory. Because in the editing storm of this film sequence, Lilli Schweiger’s cool stroll along can only be seen for a fraction of a second and is therefore completely lost. The situation is similar with one of the rare dramatic scenes in which the three school friends suddenly reflect on their worries and deceased acquaintances in their hotel suite. Director Schweiger doesn’t allow us, the audience, to get to grips with the characters’ currently bubbling sadness and worry. While Schweiger, Peschel and Finzi, as far as can be guessed, do a solid to good job facially, the editing tears this performance apart in terms of gross motor skills. Every moving corner of the mouth is immediately overwhelmed by a new image setting – how is that supposed to create feeling?
And if the editing alone doesn’t mow down a film sequence, the soundtrack comes to the rescue: whether it’s comic-like slapstick, realistic situational comedy, crudely humorous dialogue or a quiet conversation between several characters, there’s always a highly turned up soup of electro-pop, electro-pop style score or even an old one chart-toppers take over the action. Sometimes a song hums from scene to scene for minutes, as if we were watching a montage – except that Schweiger instead brings together several individual scenes with a song at a fixed volume setting, which deprives them of their own inner dramaturgy. Argument, car ride, slapstick moment, arrival, everything sounds the same. Not that “Class Reunion 1.0” places much emphasis on dramaturgy: At the beginning of the film we learn about the problems of the three friends. Thomas aka Til Schweiger is simply too cool and horny for this world and is now in his first monogamous relationship, even though willing women keep coming his way. Nils constantly feels sorry for himself and doesn’t even realize what he has in his family. And Andreas finally wants to fuck again to get over his ex-wife. What follows is a full-length chain of adolescent jokes and clever misadventures, but never anything that really has a character-forming influence on our heroes, who constantly oscillate between undeserved self-pity and party mood.
Thomas (Til Schweiger) and his two friends have known each other for over thirty years.
But anyone who thinks on the last few meters of this journey that Schweiger and co-author Lo Malinke (“Hot dog”) Simply saving the character development for the already announced sequels (which according to current plans are scheduled to start in October 2019 and September 2020) is wrong. In the final act, the screenwriters come up with three monologues in which the main characters celebrate how much they have grown. If the character-related story arcs were a graphic, they would be, despite all the hype surrounding the protagonists, a horizontal line that was given a 90° angle shortly before the end of the film. Oops, what haven’t we learned! “Class Reunion 1.0” doesn’t deserve the affected tear-jerker moments. As much as Samuel Finzi fights against the thin character outline and the monotonous and outdated slap-up humor, similar to “Affenkönig”, his talent and charisma cannot shape Nils into a role that transcends her egomania and her fear of the Growing older would have significant, let alone charismatic, traits.
When we arrive at the class reunion, things go haywire!
The equally capable Milan Peschel is passed the buck by the script and is allowed to do little more than argue and even if Til Schweiger is quite convincing as a womanizer who discovers his family-friendly side, this does not hide two things: Schweiger’s tendency to express himself in his films Casting him as the greatest pike of all almost becomes a self-parody (but without the necessary ironic edge). And: In the first act, Schweiger sells his character’s desire to play the loving surrogate dad so well that there is no potential for suspense for the rest of the film as to whether he will keep his promise. After all: Lilli Schweiger delivers the best screen performance of a Schweiger child to date in “Class Reunion 1.0”. She finds exactly the right, brittle, cheeky tone of voice to position her character as a troublemaker whose plan is to derail the trip of the three ‘silverbacks’ through supposed moral strictness. It’s all the more annoying that the script turns her into a wasteful brat in the middle part – but at least one who also expresses gratitude for forbearance. She is therefore the female character in “Class Reunion 1.0” to whom the most nuances are attributed. All the other women are hysterical, horny, horny and hysterical or the cricket at the stove. But, well, that is also a form of equality. Because the men in this film are at least as flat. Even Schweiger’s picture of the criticism industry is more nuanced…
Conclusion: Disastrous editing and a penetrating music track strangle the few coherent scenes that this strenuous comedy has to offer, until all that remains is an unfunny monotony. But cinematographically, “Class Reunion 1.0” is at least at the usual, pretty Schweiger level.
“Class Reunion 1.0 – The Incredible Journey of the Silverbacks” can be seen in USA cinemas nationwide from September 20th.