It's not easy to be a rebel
in a world where rebellion is marketed. As one of the young upstarts
here points out: How can you seriously try to change the world when Che
Guevara shirts are sold in chain shops? If anarchy is fashion, then
how can you really hope to bring about change? Or is it enough to set
off little tremors in the status quo?
This terrific German import
examines these questions. Jan (Daniel Brühl of Goodbye, Lenin)
and Peter (Stipe Erceg) are long-time friends who want to be hippies, only
they were born about thirty years too late. Still, they try to rage
against the machine, protesting the exploitation of child labor, hanging posters and
fighting the power.
There is one thing they do
that they consider the most subversive, though. They will case a nice
villa when a family is away, break into the place and rearrange all the
furniture. They will turn tables on their sides, load knick knacks
into the toilet, stick the stereo in the refrigerator. They never
steal anything, however they do leave a vaguely threatening note which
reads, "Your days of plenty are numbered" and they would sign it The
It is an interesting,
symbolic, but in the long run useless act – a tiny bit of emotional
terrorism which really changes nothing in the bigger sphere. (In fact,
I'll give the filmmakers the benefit of the doubt that they don't know that
their anarchic act was the punchline of a twenty-year-old Robin Williams
joke.) However it makes the guys feel that they are in on the fight.
Plus, the fear they feel when committing the acts is sort of a natural high.
Everything changes when
Peter's girlfriend Jule (Julia Jentsch) is evicted from her apartment and
moves in with them. When Peter is out of town, Jan lets her in on
their little nocturnal act. On a whim, Jule decides they should do it
to a man named Hardenberg
who she owes a great deal of money due to an automobile accident. Jan
is not comfortable with the the idea, they haven't staked the place out,
they don't even know for sure he is not home. However, he always had a
bit of a crush on Jule, so he goes along with it.
It turns out to be a
disaster for them. They make several mistakes and eventually are seen
by Hardenberg, who recognizes Jule. In a panic they call Peter who
helps them take the man hostage.
It turns out that Hardenberg
was a hippie and an active rebel, who eventually as he grew older moved to
the right. The film becomes a game of cat and mouse, with the older,
more experienced man subtly pushing the young idealists' buttons.
Hardenburg is torn by the whole thing, he fears for his life and yet it
makes him oddly nostalgic about his youth and the choices that he has made
All of this turns into a
taut psychological thriller. As the four get to know each other, a
nice rapport builds, and yet towards the end of the film most of the
characters do not trust any of the others. The subtle gamesmanship of
the captive and his captor is fascinating to watch.
What we really learn from
The Edukators is that idealism is fine as far as it goes, but not at the
expense of common sense.
Copyright ©2005 PopEntertainment.com. All rights reserved.
Posted: July 22, 2005.