Although it’s a German production filled with a lot of national identity and flavour, the black and white shot, slick looking, but amateurishly mounted Oh Boy feels more like a well made university thesis project rather than a film that was actually a huge indie and mainstream hit in its home country earlier this year.
Tom Schilling stars as Niko Fischer, a slacker approaching his late 20s and having the worst day of his life. After being dismissed as an emotionally unstable alcoholic by the official who could reinstate his driver’s license, he learns he’s been cut off by his wealthy father, is forced into a conversation with a creepy upstairs neighbour, finds himself forced by his best friend into going to a performance art play starring a girl he used to bully in grade school, and he hangs out in the trailer of an actor playing a Nazi in a WWII drama.
Things don’t necessarily happen in that order, but just by listing them, one gets the idea of exactly what kind of film Oh Boy is. It’s a listless look at an aimless young man who has to learn how to be an adult before it’s too late. Schilling is great, and the direction from Jan Ole Gerster certainly looks accomplished on a visual level, but the material feels like a Woody Allen worshiper screaming at the viewer. It tries so hard to give off Niko’s feelings of disenfranchisement and privileged ennui that everything feels forced and rather inorganic. It’s a movie with a bunch of situations that add up to nothing and say nothing really all that interesting.
Friday, November 15th, The Royal, 6:30pm