With the political hiking trip dramedy Raus (2018) Director Philipp Hirsch tries to reconcile escapist fun, drama and social commentary. We will reveal in our review whether he succeeds.
The Plot Summary
Glocke (Matti Schmidt-Schaller) is a rebellious youth: He protests against injustice in the world, against capitalism and against animal testing, he campaigns for environmental protection – and he is a follower. Basically, he does all of this just to impress the zealous left-wing activist girl of his dreams. When a protest goes disastrously wrong and he becomes the laughing stock of the internet, Glocke only longs for one thing: a quick way out. Away from everything he accuses and claims to accuse, away from everyone who laughs at him for his unwanted internet fame. Then he comes across a challenge in a web community at exactly the right moment: a dropout named Friedrich is calling on the Internet to follow his example: from the edge of a forest, everyone who wants to turn their back on society and lead a peaceful, secluded life should , wearing a red hat, go looking for clues. At the end, a remote hut awaits somewhere in the mountains, which he himself built for all like-minded people. In addition to Glocke, a rich boy, a former right-wing radical, a sex influencer with an anti-capitalist worldview and an adventurous guy are also on their way. Can this group stick together to achieve the goal together?
Raus Movie explanation of the ending
“Raus” is a director’s debut – and if there’s one aspect of this film that sticks, it’s the staging: With his debut, director Philipp Hirsch shows himself to be a promising talent who perhaps still needs to hone in on the tonal balance, but certainly has an eye for good, varied images. Hirsch begins his dropout adventure drama with impressionistic images that loosely evoke memories of Terence Malick. Lush green close-ups of grass and trees, sticky golden honey, the pale, bare skin of two people happily frolicking through nature and embracing each other. But as the voice-over narrator’s commentary makes dramatically clear, the world is not like that, whereupon Hirsch abruptly changes the aesthetic of his film. In grim images and hectic sequences, we see a cross-section of the evil in this world and its representation in the media.
Is getting out really a good way to escape your life?
Hirsch retains his knack for a clear production even after this prologue: At the beginning he shows the weak-minded protagonist Glocke, who only puts on the mask of the rebel because he hopes to gain opportunities with a girl in an action against a wealthy pimp. Hirsch stages this passage like a USA (low-budget) thriller, with a long focal length, grayish-steel color aesthetics and cool music. When Glocke’s mission fails and he becomes the laughingstock of the Internet, Hirsch deftly captures the tone and visual style of various web communities – and when Glocke and his colleagues then head into the woods, Hirsch strikes a harmonious balance between old-fashioned – quiet wilderness romance and more exaggerated camera angles. With selected facial shots and color-filtered, strange impressions of nature, Hirsch and his cameraman Ralf Noack create “Raus” a good image-level translation of hiking trip cinema for the social media generation.
But Hirsch’s promising directing work, although still slightly bumpy in the tonal transitions, is repeatedly thwarted by the script. Because Hirsch and his co-author Thomas Böltken never find an approach in “Raus” that has lasting effect. What begins as a youth film about frustration with an unjust world, hooliganism and digital detoxing, soon weakens into a very USA children’s film: the characters are thinly designed archetypes, whose (former) worldview is only sketched out, but only very crudely and briefly Film text is treated. The differences between the supposedly easy girl who accuses the unequal distribution of capital, the rich know-it-all and the neo-Nazi dropout are initially bloodless and without bite, but the allusions to the deeper dimensions that this constellation of characters brings with them are leveled out a “Parents can then discuss with their children if the need arises” level.
Where do the young people go next?
The stumbling blocks that occur on the journey to Friedrich’s hut are also sketched out. A chauvinistic biker, who is quickly defeated, and an arrogant innkeeper for whom the hiking group is not nice enough are, as Hirsch and Böltken design them, just annoyances that reach eight to ten year old children. For older members of the audience, however, these encounters are just lame – they lack thematic grip – also because they leave no lasting impression on our group of characters. Hirsch and Böltken then make up for this on an atmospheric level with a short, horror film-esque excursion into the realms of “The Lord of the Flies”, which earns this supposed children’s film a FSK rating for ages 12 and up – and once again hardly makes any waves in terms of content. This is narratively sobering, as “Raus” wriggles its way out of consequences and dramatic fall even with its most drastic scene, and pedagogically questionable, as our heroes briefly develop fascist tendencies and everything is quickly forgiven and forgotten. As solid as Schmidt-Schaller and his co-stars Enno Trebs, Milena Tscharntke, Matilda Merke and Tom Gronau are, “Raus” simply lacks the character density and narrative focus to be convincing.
Conclusion: With his debut, Philipp Hirsch proves himself to be a visually interesting director, but his dropout story lacks dimension in the character drawing and sophisticated dramaturgy.
“Raus” can be seen in selected USA cinemas from January 17th.