Next Door (Nebenan)
Next Door (Nebenan)
Director: Daniel Brühl
Runtime: 1h 32min
Cast: Daniel Brühl, Peter Kurth, Rike Eckermann, Aenne Schwarz, Gode Benedix, Vicky Krieps
Synopsis: Berlin, the Prenzlauer Berg district. Daniel is a film star accustomed to success. His loft apartment is stylish and so is his wife, and the nanny has the children under control. Everything is tip-top, bilingual and ready for him to jet off to an audition in London where a role in an American superhero film awaits the celebrated German-Spanish actor. Popping into the local bar on the corner, he finds Bruno sitting there. As transpires by the minute, Bruno has been waiting for this moment for a long time. And so this eternally overlooked man – one of reunification’s losers and a victim of the gentrification of what was once East Berlin – takes his revenge. With Daniel as his target…
Daniel Brühl, multilingual Spanish-German actor, film director, and producer, known as an actor for The Edukators (2004); Love in Thoughts (2004); Good Bye Lenin! (2003); Inglorious Basterds 2009); Rush (2013); Captain America: Civil War (2016) makes his directorial debut with this dark, satirical drama.
Next Door sees the charismatic Brühl as Daniel, a popular actor living in Berlin’s Prenzlauer Berg district. Daniel is accustomed to success. His loft apartment is stylish and so is his wife, and the nanny has the children under control. Everything is perfect, ordered, bilingual and ready for him to jet off to an important audition in London where a role in an American superhero film awaits (Brühl frequently appears in Marvel films).
He decides to have a final drink in the downbeat, local bar on the corner, rather than go straight to the airport with his driver. This proves to be a mistake, as Daniel soon finds himself in a confrontation with Bruno – an outstanding performance from Peter Kurth [A Heavy Heart (2015), Babylon Berlin (2017) and Good Bye Lenin! (2003)] – who is a glacial, passive-aggressive local just in the mood to dampen Daniel’s day. At first, Daniel attempts to throw Bruno with his charm. But when he sees the middle-aged, former East German is having none of it, Daniel’s patience begins to wear thin.
Bruno has been waiting for this moment for a long time, an eternally overlooked man, one of reunification’s losers and a victim of the gentrification of what was once East Berlin – he is out for revenge. With Daniel as his target…
Daniel initially takes him for a fan, then a detractor and then something far more sinister.
Next Door straddles genres from dark comedy to social commentary, drama and creepy horror thriller, with an outstanding ensemble, and a tightly written script by the novelist and playwright Daniel Kehlmann.
Exploring the subjects of gentrification and social inequality in Berlin with strong messages about Berlin’s traumatic past (Bruno has historical Stasi links) and the dominance of the privileged elites, it is also a witting look at fame and celebrity.
Daniel Brühl establishes himself as a talented director with this impressive debut.
Next Door is in cinemas and on Curzon Home Cinema.
Images courtesy of: Curzon Artificial Eye