Based on the novel of the same name, the rough drama follows NATIONAL ROAD a supposed national hero deeper into the social abyss. However, the Czech creators do not set any new accents – their milieu study is just one of many. We reveal more about this in our review.
“Peace is just the pause between two wars!”
Hynek Cermák (“Stalingrad”) Vandam acts as a prototype of the internally injured bully. The fact that in the USA version he is voiced by Adam Sandler’s regular voice actor Dietmar Wunder, his appearance is somewhat reminiscent of Sandler’s performance in “The Black Diamond”. He not only displays a remarkable physique and appears completely detached from any vanity in passionate sex scenes. He is also deprived of the sadness expressed in subtle gestures, as well as the happiness in the few small joys of his life. A performance that deserved a better film overall. Because it’s not just tonally that “Nationalstraße” falls between the two.
“Ultimately, Vandam’s lines of thought only have the substance of tear-off calendar sayings – if proles wrote fortune cookie slips, lines like this would probably come out.”
Director and screenwriter Štěpán Altrichter (“Schmitke”) simply has no more to add to his story than environmental studies such as the unfortunately much too unknown “Tyrannosaur” have long since presented in a more forceful and intensive manner. “National Street” only goes one step further when it comes to violence and ends up consistently grueling. Against the backdrop of an unattractive Czech Republic, whose working class seems to be permanently left behind from the rest of society, in the end you don’t know what is bleaker: the people or the world in which they live.
Conclusion: A milieu study from the Czech working class – director and author Štěpán Altrichter doesn’t really have anything new to add to his story about an internally torn street hooligan. Hynek Cermák, however, is inspiring. His performance is worthy of an award.
“Nationalstraße” can be seen in selected USA cinemas from June 11th.