Lindenberg! Movie Review (In Detail)

Spoilers Alert:

A USA music legend is included LINDENBERG! DO YOUR THING (de. Lindenberg! Mach Dein Ding) a fitting cinematic monument. But anyone who puts themselves in the hands of director Hermine Huntbirh primarily because of the music could be disappointed. We reveal why in our review.

The record company hasn’t yet recognized Udo Lindenberg’s potential…

The plot summary

The young Udo Lindenberg (Jan Bülow) tries to gain a foothold as a musician in the Hanseatic city of Hamburg. To do this, he works as a drummer in a strip club on the Reeperbahn and hopes to be discovered sooner or later. He meets Paula (Ruby O. Fee), not his first love, but a “fiery curb swallow” and passionate friend. Steffi Stephan (Max von der Groeben) joins us here, his friend and panic partner to this day. This is where the idea of ​​his own band grows, a dream that Udo has had since his childhood in Gronau, when he saw James Stewart in the “Glenn Miller Story” on the big screen. But his father Gustav (Charly Hübner) once convinced him: In the Lindenberg family, the men become plumbers. But Udo has a dream. And he wants to achieve that…

Lindenberg! Mach Dein Ding Review

After the overwhelming surprise success of “Bohemian Rhapsody” and the musical “Rocketman,” which followed shortly after and was even considered for the Golden Globes, Udo Lindenberg, a German artist, is now receiving his film portrait as part of this apparently rekindled love for musician biopics. And it’s obvious: the rock singer, who turns 74 this year, has sold over four million records throughout his career. A musical (“Hinterm Horizont”) was created based on his countless catchy tunes and evergreens, current tours are selling out extremely quickly and Lindenberg is also stepping out of his musical comfort zone for collaborations with popular artists, such as his MTV Unplugged session. Lindenberg released a total of 36 studio albums, 78 singles and eleven live albums; the list of other recordings can be continued endlessly. The screenwriters Alexander M. Rümelin (“Winnetou – The Secret of Silver Lake”) , Christian Lyra (“Father Joys”) and Sebastian Wehlings (“Five Friends 4”) seized the opportunity and conceived “Lindenberg! Do your thing” a classic retelling of Lindenberg’s early career; More precisely: the time before the dreamy plumber’s son became an acclaimed rock star. Even if that unfortunately means that the music itself doesn’t really come into its own in the almost two and a half hour (!) film. After all, most of the title character’s hits didn’t even exist at the time.

Udo (Jan Bülow) with Pala (Ruby O. Fee) after a fight.

“Lindenberg! Do Your Thing” takes place primarily in the late 1960s and early 1970s. A look at the artist’s CV reveals: his first album “Lindenberg” was released in 1971 and didn’t even make it into the German album top 100. This film is primarily about how the young Udo managed to make his way from being a bar drummer to becoming a superstar, even though his path was mostly blocked by his parents and external influences. It’s a classic rags-to-riches story. And one in which the musical part takes place in a theoretical form most of the time. Although music is sometimes played and song lyrics are written, Udo’s hit singles such as “Hinterm Horizont”, “Cello” or “Sonderzug nach Pankow” usually only tell us where Lindenberg got some of his song inspiration from. For example, we get to know Paula from St. Pauli, who always takes off her clothes – and that’s why she was mentioned in “Andrea Doria”. And also that the eponymous cello wasn’t actually a cello at all, but the real activity of Udo’s beloved would not have been suitable for a comparable megahit. These are all nice anecdotes that the script presents here in a realistic yet effective way. But at the same time “Lindenberg! Do your thing” but also to the viewers who already have such insider knowledge of Udo Lindenberg that they can reward such details accordingly. The cross-references to later Lindenberg songs are not always deciphered as such and the effect is lost on those who don’t know every Lindenberg track inside out.

But even for viewers outside of Lindenberg fandom, the direction by Hermine Huntnatalh in particular has a lot more to offer than just ticking off Lindenberg’s most interesting phases of life and the associated anecdotes. The director of such diverse works as “The White Masai” and “Bibi Blocksberg” not only brings Hamburg in the late 1960s and early 1970s authentically to life in her film (only Fatih Akin with “ The Golden Glove” has managed to do this more realistically , although his work deals with clearly darker corners of the Hanseatic city), but also ventures completely outside of this setting for a section in Libya, where Lindenberg was stationed as a troop entertainer in 1963 and 1964. That “Lindenberg! Do your thing” still seems to be all of a piece and not like a series of independent stations, which is due to Huntbirh’s sense of stylish staging. Illuminated with warm colors and covered with a light brown filter, it locates all the set pieces in the same decade. The authentic costumes, hairstyles and a good eye for detailed furnishings make “Lindenberg!” not seem like a stage theater, but rather like a lavish depiction of life back then. Brought to life by a fantastic lead and supporting cast.

Jan Bülow (“Cut off”), who was primarily known as a theater actor at the beginning of his career and was most recently seen in the Netflix series “Dogs of Berlin”, among others, has mastered the style and facial expressions of the panic rocker excellently. The visual similarity to the young Udo Lindenberg also contributes to the fact that the illusion of Lindenberg’s performance works brilliantly even beyond mere interpretation. Particularly in the few stage performances, the actor completely takes over the camera. Only Detlev Buck manages to top that in this film (“Magical Mystery”) as an eccentric record boss. But also Charly Hübner (“Do you ever feel burned out and empty?”) plays a fantastic Lindenberg father with a tongue-in-cheek who keeps trying to convince his youngest son of a life as a plumber and simply can’t see his talent as a musician. And after “Auerhaus”, Max von der Groeben once again proves himself to be an absolutely grounded actor, even outside of his flagship role in “Fack ju Göhte”. Ruby O. Fee stands out among the actresses (“Sweethearts”) than Paula already quoted. With her seductive attitude of a prostitute with a good heart, who makes the contradiction of sleeping with men for money and yet hopes for unconditional loyalty from her partner emotionally tangible, O. Fee not only wraps Udo around her finger, but also the audience. The characters depicted here are all real character types. The real Udo Lindenberg, who graces the audience with a singing performance in the credits, will probably like this only too much.

Conclusion: In “Lindenberg! Mach Dein Ding” Hermine Huntnatalh resurrects Hamburg in the 1960s. She manages to create a biopic about Udo Lindenberg that is staged with great attention to detail, but lacks just one thing to make it a big hit: music. This is surprisingly short for a portrait of a musician.

“Lindenberg! Do your thing” can be seen in USA cinemas from January 16th.

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